China on Monday accused Washington of hacking into computers at a university that US officials say carries out military research, adding to both governments’ complaints of rampant online spying against each other.
Northwestern Polytechnical University reported computer raids in June, the National Computer Virus Emergency Response Center announced. He said the center, working with a commercial security provider, Qihoo 360 Technology Co., tracked the attacks on the National Security Agency but did not say how it was done.
China and the United States are, along with Russia, considered world leaders in cyber warfare research.
China accuses the US of spying on universities, energy and Internet companies and other targets. Washington accuses Beijing of stealing trade secrets and has announced criminal charges against Chinese military officers.
US actions “seriously endanger China’s national security,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said. He also accused Washington of wiretapping Chinese cell phones and stealing text messages.
“China strongly condemns him,” Mao said. “The United States should immediately stop using its advantages to steal secrets and attack other countries.”
The US embassy in Beijing did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Security experts say the military wing of the ruling Communist Party, the People’s Liberation Army and the Ministry of State Security also sponsor hackers from outside the government.
Northwestern Polytechnical University, in the western city of Xi’an, is on a US government “entity list” that restricts its access to American technology. Washington says the university helps the PLA develop aerial and underwater drones and missile technology.
Monday’s announcement accused the United States of collecting information on the university’s network management and other “core technologies”. He said Chinese analysts have found 41 “network attack” tools that they believe have been traced to the NSA.
Last year, a Chinese man, Shuren Qin, was sentenced to two years in prison by a federal court in Boston after pleading guilty to exporting underwater and marine technology to Northwestern Polytechnical University without the necessary licenses.
The NSA, part of the Department of Defense, is responsible for “signal intelligence” or obtaining communications and other data.
The Computer Virus Emergency Response Center, established in 1996 by the Tianjin City Police Department, describes itself as the Chinese agency responsible for inspecting and testing antivirus products.
A report from Qihoo 360 in 2020 claims that hacking tools used in attacks on Chinese companies and government agencies in 2008-19 were traced to the Central Intelligence Agency by comparing them to the code in CIA tools disclosed by the Wikileaks group.
The virus center accused the NSA of carrying out other “malicious network attacks” in China, but did not provide details. He said 13 people involved in the attacks had been identified.
Hackers targeted a “zero day”, or previously unreported, vulnerability in school security, the statement said. He said the break-ins were conducted by servers in 17 countries including Japan, South Korea, Sweden, Poland, Ukraine, and Colombia.
The statement described what were said to be NSA software tools with names like “Second Date” and “Drinking Tea”, but did not say which ones could be used at the university.