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As China Expands Its Hacking Operations, a Vulnerability Emerges

WorldAs China Expands Its Hacking Operations, a Vulnerability Emerges

The Chinese hacking tools made public in recent days illustrate how much Beijing has expanded the reach of its computer infiltration campaigns through the use of a network of contractors, as well as the vulnerabilities of its emerging system.

The new revelations underscore the degree to which China has ignored, or evaded, American efforts for more than a decade to curb its extensive hacking operations. Instead, China has both built the cyberoperations of its intelligence services and developed a spider web of independent companies to do the work.

Last weekend in Munich, Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director, said that hacking operations from China were now directed against the United States at “a scale greater than we’d seen before.” And at a recent congressional hearing, Mr. Wray said China’s hacking program was larger than that of “every major nation combined.”

“In fact, if you took every single one of the F.B.I.’s cyberagents and intelligence analysts and focused them exclusively on the China threat, China’s hackers would still outnumber F.B.I. cyberpersonnel by at least 50 to one,” he said.

U.S. officials said China had quickly built up that numerical advantage through contracts with firms like I-Soon, whose documents and hacking tools were stolen and placed online in the last week.

The documents showed that I-Soon’s sprawling activities involved targets in South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, India and elsewhere.

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