(Bloomberg) -- China’s military conducted cyber probes and intrusions against U.S. computer networks to support intelligence collection and electronic warfare, according to a new Pentagon report.
“China is using its cyber capabilities to support intelligence collection against the U.S. diplomatic, economic, and defense industrial base sectors that support U.S. national defense programs,” the Defense Department said in its annual report on China’s capabilities, published Friday.
The report, which traditionally draws a strong reaction from the Chinese government, comes ahead of a visit to Vietnam and Japan this month by President Barack Obama and amid increasing tensions between the U.S., China and Southeast Asian nations over sovereignty claims in the South China Sea.
Highlighting what the Pentagon described as China’s focus on improving cyber capabilities to counter a “stronger foe,” the report said information gleaned by hackers “could inform Chinese military planners’ work to build a picture of U.S. defense networks, logistics, and related military capabilities that could be exploited during a crisis.”
“The accesses and skills required for these intrusions are similar to those necessary to conduct cyber attacks,” according to the report. The intelligence gathering could also provide the ruling Communist Party “insights into U.S. leadership perspectives on key China issues.”
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