The Financial Times uncovers a Chinese technology company operating as a front for a People’s Liberation Army cybermilitia unit:
“All staff under the age of 30 belong to the unit,” said Bai Guoliang, Nanhao vice-president. It is unclear what exactly the unit does, but according to a local government announcement when it was set up, it consisted of two groups tasked with cyberattack and cyberdefence.
The Nanhao operation is one of thousands set up by the Chinese military over the past decade in technology companies and universities around the country. These units form the backbone of the country’s internet warfare forces, increasingly seen as a serious threat at a time of escalating global cybertensions.
The story of Nanhao provides further evidence of state-sponsored cyberespionage as foreign governments, multinational corporations and global security experts suspect China’s involvement in recent major hacking incidents.
See past CDT coverage of cyber espionage, including the invasion of a local investigative reporter’s e-mail account, attacks on Google and Yahoo accounts in the United States, and the alleged failure of Western information security companies to adequately guard against Chinese hacking.