According to a Fairfax Media investigation the responsible of the so-called “Operation Cloud Hopper” was the Chinese Ministry of Security.
China allegedly directed a series of cyber attacks against Australian companies by breaking a bilateral agreement between the two nations to not steal each other’s commercial secrets.
The wave of attacks has been identified by Australia and its partners, the “Five Eyes” (United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Canada and of course Australia).
An Australian government source told the Sydney Morning Herald that China’s industrial espionage business is constant, and represents a significant effort.
According to some, Australian universities, organizations and companies are not doing enough to tighten their cybersecurity against such attacks and protect their sensitive data.
The Australian Federal Police and Australian Security Intelligence Organisation are many months behind the US operation.
Without enforcement, there was no effective deterrence, said one national security source.
The attacks were concentrated mainly in the first six months of the year.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told during a press conference on Tuesday “relevant reports and accusations are fabricated without facts but with hidden motives”.
According to Geng Shuang, this news is false and it was fabricated, to create tensions and fake rivalries, especially in an important sector such as cybersecurity.
A few days ago, at the APEC summit, Mike Pence had openly accused Beijing of lingering in unfair commercial practices.
The division of views between the various powers participating in the meeting in Papua New Guinea led to the failure of the summit.
In 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping signed an agreement with the then US President Barack Obama to eradicate cyber espionage. Following the agreement, there was indeed a decline in this kind of activity on the Chinese side.
But activities have increased dramatically recently.