China admits having cyber warfare divisions

Everyone knows that nation-states wage cyber warfare against each other. It’s kind of an open secret that states like the USA, Israel, Iran, Russia, China, North Korea, all have tried (and succeeded) in disrupting security networks of other countries, getting their hand on valuable information in the process.

But countries have been reluctant to openly admit engaging in cyber warfare, or so we thought.

In a document known as The Science of Military Strategy prepared by the People’s Liberation Army, China has finally admitted that it does have cyber warfare divisions – several of them, in fact.

This document comes out once in a generation and the edition before this one was published in 1999.

However, this ‘new’ document went live in December 2013, but has only now made its way to the West.

The Daily Beast spoke to Joe McReynolds, who researches the country’s network warfare strategy, doctrine, and capabilities at the Center for Intelligence Research and Analysis: “This is the first time we’ve seen an explicit acknowledgement of the existence of China’s secretive cyber-warfare forces from the Chinese side,” he said.

McReynolds says China has three types of teams designed for cyber warfare. One is a specialized military network force in charge of both attack and defence.

The second group is spread within civilian organizations that are authorized to carry out operations on behalf of the military.

The third group is basically everyone else who knows their way around a computer – like freelance hackers.

When asked by The Daily Beast which group is responsible for attacking American targets, McReynolds said all of them do it.