Chinese anti-virus firm Qihoo 360 revealed that a hacking group related to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has launched cyber-attacks against China for the past 11 years.
Qihoo 360 discovered and revealed cyber-attacks by the CIA hacking group (APT-C-39). Several industry sectors have been targeted including aviation organizations, scientific research institutions, petroleum industry, Internet companies, and government agencies, the firm said in a blog on its website. Qihoo has alleged that Joshua Adam Schulte, a former CIA employee is responsible for the research, development and production of cyber weapons.
Following the revelation, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian denounced the United States as Wednesday as "Hacker Empire."
"We once again strongly urge the US to make a clear explanation, immediately stop such activities and give back China and the world a peaceful, safe, open and cooperative cyberspace," Zhao stressed.
The creation of intercepted "malicious" software samples coincided with working hours on the US East Coast, Qihoo wrote.
"We speculate that in the past 11 years of infiltration attacks, CIA may have already grasped the most classified business information of China, even of many other countries in the world," said the report.
"It does not even rule out the possibility that now CIA is able to track down the real-time global flight status, passenger information, trade freight and other related information. If the guess is true, what unexpected things will CIA do if it has such confidential and important information? Get important figures' travel itinerary, and then pose political threats, or military suppression?" the report stated further.
Not just China but the Russia and Iran have been the victims of the US’s state-directed cyber-attacks. In the aftermath of the devastating dronestrike against Saudi oil facilities the US is said to have carried out a secret cyber operation against Tehran. The attack halved the production capacity of the facility and prices of oil spiralled worldwide.
After accusing Russia of inserting malware that could sabotage American power plants, oil and gas pipelines and water supplies, officials at Washington revealed in mid-2019 that US deployed reconnaissance probes into the control systems of the Russian electric grid and other targets.
"The United States is now taking a broader view of potential digital targets as part of an effort to say to Russia, or anybody else that’s engaged in cyberoperations against us that they will pay the price," said John R. Bolton, US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser.