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Chinese hackers working for govt.?

WASHINGTON — China is building its cyberwarfare capabilities and appears to be using the growing technical abilities to collect U.S. intelligence through a sophisticated and long-term computer attack campaign, according to an independent report.

Released Thursday by a congressional advisory panel, the study found cases suggesting that China's elite hacker community has ties to the Beijing government, although there is little hard evidence.

The commission report details a cyberattack against a U.S. company several years ago that appeared to either originate in or come through China and was similar to other incidents also believed to be connected to the country.

According to the analysis, the company noticed that over several days, data from their network was being sent to multiple computers in the U.S. and overseas. While the report does not identify the company, it contends that the attackers targeted specific data, suggesting a very coordinated and sophisticated operation by people who had the expertise to use the high-tech information. An Internet protocol address located in China was used at times during the episode.

The study by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission contends that the Chinese, long reported to be stoking a massive military buildup, has also made computer warfare a priority. The Chinese government is said to view such cyberprowess as critical for victory in future conflicts — similar to the priority on offensive cyberabilities stressed by some U.S. officials.

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