US urges China to investigate cyberattack against US websites

US claims China manipulates internet traffic and targets US websites

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The United States has urged China to investigate reports that suggest Beijing redirected internet traffic and used internet data for attacking US websites.

"We are concerned by reports that China has used a new cyber capability to interfere with the ability of worldwide Internet users to access content hosted outside of China," Jeff Rathke, State Department spokesman said in a news briefing.

Statements of the State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke's came as grievances of anti-online cencorship website towards Chinese authorities who supposedly hacked its web content and exposed many attacks in late March. 

China also allegedly shut down San Francisco-based Github which hosted some of Greatfire’s data earlier that month .

The US insists on an investigation by Chinese government for allegations from the report but Beijing denies responsibility for the attacks.

"The cyber attack manipulated international web traffic intended for one of China's biggest web services companies and turned it into malicious traffic directed at US sites," Rathke told.

An analysis by Citizen Lab of Toronto says Beijing uses "Great Cannon" cyber attack programme for hacking individual IP addresses to target foreign computers which are connected with China based websites 

“The Great Cannon is one of the biggest cyber weapons that has become publicly known,” said Justin W. Clarke, a senior security researcher at Cylance cybersecurity firm.   

"Every user in China could be potentially weaponized by their government," he said.

Thousands of websites were blocked off by the government  to prevent what it deems politically sensitive information from reaching Chinese users. That is called as the "Great Firewall."

Pentagon said last month that it will cooperate with Beijing to prevent  the risks of misperception and miscalculation.

TRTWorld and agencies