UPDATED (12:30pm EST): The American computer security firm Mandiant is releasing a report today that claims cyber attacks in the U.S. are linked to hackers inside a Chinese military group.
Mandiant claims it has tracked one of the world's most prolific cyber espionage groups to a single building in Shanghai. In its report, Mandiant alleges the building is occupied by a Chinese military unit who has hacked into 150 businesses and organizations, mostly in the United States, over the last seven years. The targets span a dozen industrial sectors including IT, transportation, energy, aerospace, and telecom.
The Chinese government is denying the allegations, calling them groundless and based on rudimentary data.
"You can't really say 100 percent that someone has done something online unless you've got the Navy Seals kicking the door down and catching they guy with his hands on the keyboard," says Alex Cox, who does computer threat analysis for the company RSA.
But, Cox adds, no matter who does the hacking, companies need to be prepared:
"These intrusions are kind of a regular part of business right now and you need to have some sort of process or plan or technology to address it."