China state media says investigation finds US OPM hack was criminal, not state-sponsored
BEIJING – China’s official Xinhua news agency said on Wednesday that an investigation into a massive US computer breach last year that affected more than 22 million federal workers found the hacking attack was criminal, not state-sponsored.
In an article about a meeting between top US and Chinese officials on cyber security issues held in Washington, Xinhua said the breach at the United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) was among the cases discussed.
The report did not give details of who conducted the investigation, or whether US and Chinese officials both agreed with the conclusion.
The US Embassy in Beijing referred Reuters to the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security in Washington for comment on the talks.
The Cyberspace Administration of China, the country’s Internet regulator, did not immediately reply to a Reuters request for comment.
OPM has been under scrutiny from lawmakers and the public ever since it disclosed earlier this year that it had fallen victim to two cyber attacks, which officials have privately linked to Chinese hackers.
The intrusions exposed sensitive personal information, including names, Social Security numbers and addresses of more than 22 million current and former federal employees and contractors, in addition to 5.6 million fingerprints.
Top US and Chinese officials convened this week in Washington for the first round of cyber security talks following the signing of a bilateral anti-hacking accord in September.
The talks on Tuesday and Wednesday are seen as potentially significant in establishing acceptable norms for cyber espionage.
It also marks an ongoing effort to repair bilateral relations after China withdrew from a working group last year in response to the US indictment of five members of its military on charges it hacked six US companies. -Reuters