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China's top paper dismisses McAfee hacking report

The People's Daily calls McAfee's report on the hacking attacks groundless

The official newspaper of China's ruling communist party dismissed security vendor McAfee's report that a state sponsored group was behind the massive cyberattack that penetrated 72 companies and organizations, calling the claims groundless.

The article written in the People's Daily on Friday is the closest official comment the Chinese government has issued about the reported hacking attacks, which spanned 14 countries and stole national secrets and sensitive business plans.

While McAfee's report did not name the group behind the cyber attack, security experts suspect it came from China, partly because of the organizations targeted. Some of the targeted groups included the International Olympic Committee, the World Anti-Doping Agency, the United Nations and companies in South Korea, U.S. and Taiwan.

The People's Daily article said, however, that the only evidence security experts had in suspecting China was because the targets were of interest to either Beijing or Moscow. The article also noted criticism that McAfee had released the report in order to sell more security products.

"Arbitrarily linking China and every hacking attack is irresponsible," the article said.

China has a record of being named the country of origin for several other high-profile hacking attacks. In June, Google said it had disrupted a phishing campaign coming from China that was designed to steal the e-mails of government officials, Chinese political activists and military personnel.

In February, McAfee had published another report that said a hacking attack originating from China that stole gigabytes of data from at least five oil, gas and petrochemical companies.

China, however, has previously denied taking part in any kind of hacking attacks. Chinese foreign ministry officials have said the country is firmly opposed to hacking and that the country has also been a victim of cyber attacks.

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