Weeks after search engine giant Google reported that it was attacked by a cyber attack originating from China, Information Week has confirmed that two months prior to the attack, a report issued by the US government had warned that the private sector was under a threat of a cyber attack originating from the People’s Republic of China.
The report titled ‘Report on the Capability of the People's Republic of China to Conduct Cyber Warfare and Computer Network Exploitation’ was prepared by the Northrop Grumman's Information Systems Sector for the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, which was created with the purpose of evaluating the national security implications of trade and economic ties with US and China.
The US Government report highlighted aspects of China’s core cyber warfare and cyber espionage strategies that might be used by the country to attack US-based companies.
The report also contained a case study in advanced cyber intrusion along with a timeline depicting cyber attacks which were reportedly mounted by the Chinese government in the past ten years.
Information Week reported that the issuing of the statement was followed by an official statement released by the Northrup group which said that “The skill sets needed to penetrate a network for intelligence gathering purposes in peace time are the same skills necessary to penetrate that network for offensive action during war time.”
Since the report was published prior to the attack and depicted a potential cyber attack, one could argue that the Chinese broke into Northrop Grumman's computer and got hold of the plans and used them to hack into Google and a number of other US companies.