Hackers associated with the Chinese government have in the past few weeks attempted to penetrate the networks of US companies to steal their secrets even as China's president pledged they would not do so, The Washington Post reported citing private researchers said.
Chinese hackers had attacked at least seven US companies since president Xi Jinping vowed last month in Washington that China will not conduct cyber-economic espionage, CrowdStrike, a firm that helps companies track and check intrusions said.
The three weeks since Xi left Washington - including 25 September, the day after he left - had seen hackers linked to the Chinese government attempted to gain access to tech and pharmaceutical companies' networks, said Dmitri Alperovitch, CrowdStrike co-founder and chief technology officer, who released a report on the issue today.
According to Aleperorvitch, the efforts continued to the present, sometimes several times a day, and appeared to be distinct from traditional intelligence gathering, which was not covered by Xi's pledge.
Alperovitch said in an interview that he believed the hackers who attacked the seven companies were associated with the Chinese government partly on the basis of the servers and software they used, Reuters reported.
One program the hackers used was named Derusbi, according to Alperovitch. Other analysts had said Derusbi earlier was seen in attacks on Virginia defense contractor VAE Inc and health insurer Anthem Inc.
Alperovitch said the hackers belonged to several groups including one that CrowdStrike had previously named Deep Panda.
The "primary benefits of the intrusion seem clearly aligned to facilitate theft of intellectual property and trade secrets, rather than to conduct traditional, national-security-related intelligence collection," CrowdStrike said in a blog post to be published on Monday.
According to Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying the Chinese government opposed all forms of hacking or stealing commercial secrets.
"Internet hacking attacks are marked by their secretive, cross border nature," she told a daily news briefing.