China’s cyberattacks and hacking will continue and increase: Security firm

( Despite a recent agreement between the U.S. and China to limit cyber espionage, hacking and other digital attacks, a security firm is warning that Beijing-based attacks are going to continue and perhaps even increase in the coming years.

As reported by the Washington Free Beacon, the cyberattacks against U.S. government and private sector information systems is part of a larger intelligence-gathering mission, the firm, CrowdStrike, a cybersecurity and intelligence company, warned in an annual threat report made public last week. CrowdStrike is regularly consulted by private industry and government, The WFB reported.

Some of the larger cyberattacks last year by Chinese hackers include theft of healthcare data on 80 million Americans, as well as the records of 22 million current and former federal government employees from a hack of the Office of Personnel Management.

Gathering Americans’ personal data is part of a new trend in Chinese hacking. “This targeting underscores that intrusion operations associated with nation-states pose a significant risk to all data, no matter how uninteresting it may seem,” the report said.

In addition the “2015 Global Threat Report” says that the U.S.-China agreement to not conduct cybertheft of commercial data has not had much of an impact on Beijing’s cyber activities.

“Beneath the surface, however, China has not appeared to change its intentions where cyber is concerned,” the report noted.

If there is any reduction at all in Chinese hacking this coming year it is probably only going to be temporary, the firm warned. Also, any reduction may only be the result of using more hard-to-trace methods of conducting cyber espionage after a major military reorganization of Beijing’s cyberwar capabilities.

The military changes “will likely increase [China’s] reliance on its civilian intelligence agencies and associated contractors, all of which generally employ better tradecraft,” said the report.

“If observed campaigns in late 2015 were any indication, it is unlikely China will completely cease its cyber operations, and 2016 will show the new direction it is headed,” it added.

As reported, the U.S. government is set to hand off cybersecurity to the U.S. military in the coming year, mostly because the Pentagon is much more adept at providing security to information systems than disparate government agencies.

“We believe that moving the cybersecurity initiative to the military is a good option for all government agencies,” Carl Wright, general manager of TrapX Security, a cyber defense firm, told

“Attackers include both organized crime and nation states. There is often too much inertia across the multitude of federal agencies to hire the necessary experts, make  architectural decisions, implement through rapid procurement and then deploy state-of-the-art cyber defense,” Wright, a former chief technology officer for the U.S. Marine Corps, added.

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