CrowdStrike, a private cyber security company, accused a Chinese military unit of attempting to hack its way into both U.S. government and private contractor computer systems.
The cyber spying targeted “popular productivity applications such as Adobe Reader and Microsoft Office to deploy custom malware through targeted email attacks,” CrowdStrike said.
The company alleges that a man named Chen Ping owned domain names that attempted hacks on U.S. companies. Ping describes himself as a 'soldier' on a personal blog. Forum postings, online photo albums and social media profiles tie Ping to the blog.
Among material on those sites was a photo album titled “office” that includes a building CrowdStrike identified as the Shanghai headquarters of the military unit in question.
Hua Chunying, a Chinese military spokesperson, denied the claim, instead turning the accusation back on the U.S.
“The United States cannot pretend that it is the victim. They are a hacker enemy state. I think everyone in the world knows this."
Whether Ping and his unit are guilty or not, the question remains: will the U.S.'s back-and-forth accusations with China escalate? Both countries have opted to cooperate in a naval exercise in what seems like a symbolic handshake, but hackers might be the crossed fingers behind their backs.