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A draft of a congressional report produced by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission reveals China has been stepping up their clandestine cyber operations targeting the U.S. government despite the recent discovery of state-supported cyber warfare operations.

Earlier this year, security contractor Mandiant released a report detailing the activities of Unit 61398 of the 2nd Bureau of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), and over the course of the last several months, the Chinese have taken steps to further obscure the unit’s activities.

“The Chinese government is directing and executing a large-scale cyber espionage campaign against the United States, and to date has successfully targeted the networks of U.S. government and private organizations, including those of DoD, defense contractors, and private firms,” the report asserts.

“These activities are designed to achieve a number of broad economic and strategic objectives, such as gathering intelligence, providing Chinese firms with an advantage over its competitors worldwide, advancing long-term research and development objectives, and gaining information that could enable future military operations.”

It is believed that since 2006 the Chinese have attacked and successfully infiltrated the networks of as m any as 141 organizations from 15 nations and in nearly two-dozen critical industries including tech, financial services, government and defense.

The commission’s report warns that the same mechanisms China employs to steal intellectual property and conduct espionage could later be employed to conduct offensive cyber operations in the event of a military conflict.

“Chinese cyber actors could place latent capabilities in U.S. software code or hardware components that might be employed in a potential conflict between the United States and China,” the report states.

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