China has categorically denied that its military is engaged in hacking activities, as detailed in a report released yesterday. “Chinese military forces have never supported any hacking activities,” Geng Yansheng, a spokesman for China’s Defense Ministry, retorted at a press briefing in Beijing today.
A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry added to this retort by blaming the U.S. for similar hack attacks on Chinese targets.
Meanwhile, Washington is preparing to retaliate and protect the U.S. from further attacks. Responses would possibly include fines and other trade sanctions.
One important question in this situation is, Who is really running China’s hacking operation? The many ministries and departments that make up China’s foreign policy apparatus often don’t cooperate closely. One hand may not know what the other is up to. That creates the dangerous possibility that a rogue unit or officer might go running off on a misguided adventure and get Beijing embroiled in a crisis it doesn’t want.