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US hackers target our websites, China's Defence Ministry complains

Hit 144,000 times per month

Chinese military websites experienced a barrage of hacking probes originating in the US during 2012, the Chinese military has said in a statement designed to remind the world that it can also be a victim of cyberattacks.

According to a Defence Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng, two key Chinese state websites were attacked by hackers an average of 144,000 times per month last year, with 62.9 percent of this activity originating from IP addresses in the US.

Yansheng noted that the US had recently announced an expansion of its cyberwarfare capabilities, including a willingness to consider pre-empt attacks.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the US v China cyberhacking debate, Washington is winning the propaganda war for now, not helped by China's insistence on publishing its arguments in the Chinese language at press conferences foreign reporters are reportedly not invited to attend.

"Chinese law forbids hacker attacks that undermine Internet security," Gansheng said in a statement now being quoted from a translation run through Google.

"The Chinese government has always resolutely combated criminal activities [and] the Chinese army has never supported any hacker activity," he said.

"The above practices [US cyberwarfare] are not conducive to the joint efforts of the international community to enhance network security. We hope that the United States [must] explain and clarify."

The statement is not the first the Chinese have made as they attempt to balance the repeated and increasingly detailed claims of alleged Chinese industrial-level hacking of US and foreign organisations.

Recently these have centred around a report by US security consultancy Mandiant that offered unprecedented detail on the organised nature of China's hacking against the US in particular.

Earlier this week it was claimed that the Chinese had attempted to hack Eurofighter maker EADS and a German steel maker, the latest in a growing list of cyber-grievances aired against the country's activities.

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