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Chinese cyber war intensifies

Tuesday 09 Apr 2013 6:04p.m.

Chinese cyber war intensifies

In outer Shanghai, drivers need directions on a search for a Chinese military spy base hidden somewhere in an ordinary looking neighbourhood. It's called Unit 61398 – alleged to house a secretive Chinese hacking unit.

The public aren't allowed close to the ordinary 12-storey building, and there is a ban on filming and photography.

The building is actually the nerve centre and headquarters of the Chinese cyber army responsible for cyber attacks on the US and perhaps many other countries, including New Zealand.

Unit 61398 was uncovered last month when American cyber security firm Mandiant traced 90 percent of its identified interceptions to the neighbourhood – a People's Liberation Army base.

China and its army are the world's number one suspects for cyber hacking, although the Chinese army has denied it on national TV.

Prime Minister John Key refuses to publicly blame China, but an Auckland cyber security firm shows attacks on New Zealand in real time, and most come from China.

And the job of protecting New Zealand from this new war falls to none other than spy agency GCSB.

The cyber war is real. Mr Key revealed this week New Zealand companies have been victims of industrial espionage. The likelihood is that customer records or even ideas have been stolen.

New Zealand is not as suspicious of China as other countries. US President Barack Obama is taking the attacks seriously.

"Now our enemies are also seeking the ability to sabotage our power grid, our financial institutions, our air traffic control systems," he says.

"We cannot look back years from now and wonder why we did nothing in the face of real threats to our security and our economy."

The New Zealand Government has allowed Huawei to install broadband, and today Telecom announced the telecommunications giant, run by a former Chinese soldier, will build its 4G-capable mobile sites.

But Washington says Huawei can't be trusted. 3 News understands the GCSB cleared Huawei as safe.

So the cyber war is on. New Zealand companies, exporters who create wealth and jobs are under attack. It is the GCSB's job to protect them, and us. The question is: can our spies be trusted to do that?

3 News

 
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