China successfully used the attacks to steal massive amounts of proprietary and government data. The map indicates that the NSA is developing better “attribution” capabilities — the ability to trace the origins of the attacks back to China.
Another NSA document provided a diagram of various Chinese military and intelligence organizations involved in the cyberattacks.
The main unit was identified in a briefing slide as “Technical Department 3PLA,” formally known as the 3rd Department of the People’s Liberation Army General Staff Department, which is considered to be a counterpart to the NSA.
The slide indicates that the NSA has identified more than 19 3PLA cyberunits involved in U.S. attacks, the most among all Chinese government agencies. Nine other units are suspected of being part of 3PLA.
Additionally, the report identified six cyberespionage units under the Ministry of State Security, China’s civilian intelligence service, and another 22 MSS units suspected of involvement in U.S. cyberattacks.
Seven other cyberattacks were categorized by the NSA as unattributed but caused by China.
China is a formidable opponent and all the news about their intrusions makes the US government look clumsy. However, I suspect the US conducts similar operations against Chinese interests and either is much better at covering their tracks, or the Chinese government does not use the media in the same way the US does.