WikiLeaks’ publication of documents detailing the CIA’s vast hacking prowess prompted a rebuke from China’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday over concerns surrounding the security risks caused by the agency’s ability to crack the world’s most widely-used electronic devices.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said he was concerned when at asked at a press conference Thursday about Beijing’s response to the latest WikiLeaks release — a cache of documents indicating the CIA can compromise an array of popular tech products, including many made and sold in China.
China “is opposed to all forms of cyberattacks, and urges the U.S. to stop its wiretapping, surveillance, espionage and cyberattacks against China and other countries,” Mr. Geng told reporters.
“The Chinese side is firmly committed to safeguarding its cyber security and is ready to enhance dialogue and cooperation with the international community to lay down a set of universally acceptable rules governing the cyberspace within the UN framework, and build a peaceful, secure, open, cooperative and orderly cyberspace through joint efforts,” he said.
The documents published by WikiLeaks on Tuesday suggest U.S. intelligence is capable of hacking widely used internet routers — including those manufactured by Chinese companies such as Huawei and ZTE — among other tech products.
The CIA “lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal,” WikiLeaks said in a statement. The agency has refused to comment on the authenticity of the documents, but multiple reports indicate the leak is the subject of an investigation being undertaken currently by both the FBI and CIA.
Cybersecurity proved to a contentious issue under former President Barack Obama’s administration with respect to his relationship with China. The Justice Department charged five members of the Chinese military with cyber espionage in 2014, and Chinese hackers were reportedly believed to be responsible for a major breach spotted a year later affecting the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Mr. Obama nonetheless announced in September 2015 that he had reached a “common understanding” with his Chinese counterpart on the subject of state-sponsored cyberattacks, and said they agreed that neither country will purposely hack each other’s companies for the sake of stealing trade secrets or other confidential business information.
His successor, President Trump, vowed on the campaign trail to enforce a “zero tolerance policy” with respect to the cyber-enabled theft of corporate secrets.