Mon, Mar 25, 2013 - Page 5 News List

Papers link Chinese school to army ‘hackers’

AFP, BEIJING

A Shanghai Jiaotong University campus is seen at Zhangjiang High Technology Park on the outskirts of Shanghai, China, on March 16.

Photo: Reuters

Researchers at one of China’s top universities collaborated with a Chinese army unit accused of carrying out hacking attacks on the US, academic papers published online show.

The elite Shanghai Jiaotong University conducted network security research with China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Unit 61398, the co-authored papers accessed by media yesterday revealed.

A US security company last month said that the army unit, based in Shanghai, was behind serial hacking attacks on US firms, sparking a war of words between the two powers.

POWER CLASH

A week ago, US President Barack Obama raised several cybersecurity issues with new Chinese President and Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping (習近平).

Beijing has denied that it engages in hacking and claims that its military is a victim of cyberattacks, most of which have originated in the US.

Several researchers at Shanghai Jiaotong’s School of Information Security Engineering published research with members of Unit 61938, with projects dating back to 2007, the easily accessed papers showed.

Subjects of the joint research include the design of an “intrusion monitoring system” for computer networks and ways to evaluate “attack graphs,” which show how an adversary can break into a computer system.

None of the papers described plans to carry out cyberattacks on foreign targets. The university was not immediately available for comment yesterday.

CYBERTHREAT

Xue Zhi, a co-author of one of the papers and vice president of the school, is the developer of China’s leading “cyberpenetration attack platform,” the university’s Web site says.

Shanghai Jiaotong University is one of China’s flagship educational institutions and has attracted members of China’s business and political elite, with former Chinese president Jiang Zemin (江澤民) among its alumni.

The US Department of Defense has approved a fivefold expansion of its cybersecurity force to include 4,900 troops and civilians over the coming years in response to growing online threats, the Washington Post reported in January.

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