China’s military on Thursday said that its computer networks have been under constant attack from hackers mostly based in the U.S., pushing back against charges that it has launched cyberattacks against American companies.
Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng told reporters at a regular monthly briefing that foreign computer hackers targeted two of its websites an average of 144,000 times per month last year.
Mr. Geng said that 63 percent of the attacks against the Defense Ministry’s official Web portal and that of its newspaper, the People’s Liberation Army Daily, originated in the U.S.
The military’s assertions come one week after a report from the U.S. computer security firm Mandiant that a unit of the People’s Liberation Army Third Department has been behind a vigorous hacking campaign against mostly U.S. companies, stealing trade secrets and other confidential data.
Chinese officials denied the allegations last week.
“Like other countries, China faces a serious threat from hacking and is one of the primary victims of hacking in the world,” Mr. Geng said Thursday. “Numbers of attacks have been on the rise in recent years.”
A recent study in the journal “Survival” by Michael Pillsbury, a former defense official in the Reagan administration, said concerns about a major cyberattack against China’s nuclear arsenal and civilian infrastructure are two of 16 fears driving Chinese strategic thinking.