Canada Blames Chinese Army Unit for Cyberattack

Canada announced on Tuesday that A highly sophisticated Chinese state-sponsored actor had hacked into the National Research Council, a leading body that works close with major companies such as aircraft and train maker Bombardier Inc. The Chinese government denies all claims and accuses Canada of making irresponsible accusations without credible evidence.

While Canada didn’t provide any details to the attack, CrowdStrike Chief Technology Officer Dmitri Alperovitch said “it was similar to other hacking campaigns launched by a Unit 61486 of the People’s Liberation Army, nicknamed Putter Panda”. The group has thousands of people and conduct intelligence on satellite and aerospace industries. “It certainly looks like one of the actors we track out of China that we’ve seen going after aircraft manufacturers in the past,” Alperovitch said to Reuters.

This is the first time ever they managed to identify a suspect in a long string of attacks on government and commercial computers. Former Canadian cabinet minister Stockwell Day separately confirmed that Chinese operators were suspect of hacking the Finance Department and the Treasury Board in 2011. The Canadian government has never publicly said who it thought was behind the 2011 attacks.

China’s Foreign Ministry demanded that Canada “cease making groundless accusations against China”.

“Canada, lacking reliable evidence, has wrongly censured China without any provocation, and this is an irresponsible action,” said ministry spokesman Qin Gang. “China resolutely opposes this.”

With China being Canada’s second largest import-trading partner, they generally enjoy a good relationship. The latest attack on the National Research Council must however have made it impossible for them to keep quiet. By making it public, it could also be considered a warning shot across the bow, saying ‘We treat this stuff very seriously’.

Thank you Reuters for providing us with this information