Top news: A series of bold, highly aggressive cyber attacks have been traced to a single unit in the Chinese army, headquartered in a drab office building outside of Shanghai, according to a new report that details a spate of attacks directed at the United States government, major companies, and infrastructure.
According to The New York Times, U.S. officials have been aware of the hacking group -- officially known as People's Liberation Army Unit 61398, unoficially as "Comment Crew" -- for some time, but the report by Mandiant, an American security firm, makes public detailed allegations against the Chinese army and accuses it of carrying out attacks against major U.S. firms, stealing proprietary information like negotiating strategies, and illicitly obtaining blueprints to the American oil and gas infrastructure.
While Chinese officials denied the allegations, the Mandiant report argues that if the hacking activity in Shanghai is not the work of Unit 61398, then “a secret, resourced organization full of mainland Chinese speakers with direct access to Shanghai-based telecommunications infrastructure is engaged in a multiyear enterprise-scale computer espionage campaign right outside of Unit 61398’s gates.”
The Mandiant report is likely to put a chill on relations between the United States and China as U.S. officials are preparing to inform their counterparts that Chinese hacking activity threatens the fundamental relationship between Beijing and Washington.
Venezuela: President Hugo Chavez returned from cancer treatment in Cuba and is ensconced in a military hospital in Caracas receiving treatment as he recovers from surgery. Continuing to impose a veil of secrecy over Chavez's recovery, the Venezuelan government did not release any photos of Chavez's arrival as he was spirited into the country during the pre-dawn hours. While Chavez's return to Venezuela is likely to aid his political allies, it does little to clarify the country's ongoing constitutional crisis.
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