Skip to main content

China’s shadowy cyber-warfare capabilities unmasked in official report

china internet censorship chinahack
China has a lot of hackers on its payroll. We’ve known that for a long time, even though there has never been much of an official announcement. However, in an unprecedented move the People’s Liberation Army has now for the first time detailed the make up of its digital military divisions, and they are more extensive than most would have imagined.

The reason China’s ruling party has been so quite about its hacking efforts in the past, has been to enable it to deny any actions traced back to it. However, the cat is now firmly out of the bag, as in its latest publication of The Science of Military Strategy – a once every few decades document that details its military infrastructure – it has detailed three separate arms devoted to digital war making.

The first branch is known as the “specialized military network warfare forces,” which is made up of military units that are designed to carry out focused network based attacks, as well as defensive actions, according to security researcher Joe McReynolds (via the Daily Beast). The second arm links with civilian organizations, to conduct “network warfare operations,” on behalf of the military, but without any specific involvement from army personnel. The third and final group is the most shadowy, described in the report as merely “external entities,” which can be mobilized when needed to carry out “network warfare operations.”‘

It’s not clear at this time where the infamous PLA Unit 61398 – which has been linked with hacks against US infrastructure – falls into. It has been speculated in the past that it may operate outside of the traditional party power structure, though it is possible that the second or third branch of the cyber warfare divisions would be applicable for the specialized unit.

The official report including this information was published in December of 2013, but due to the insularity of the Chinese government and the lack of an English translation, it’s only now become noticed by the United States – or the civilian press, at least. What impact this will have on relations between China and other countries active in cyber warfare, such as the United States, is unclear, but McReynolds think it may make foreign cooperation with China on cyber-crime investigations within its borders more difficult.

Jon Martindale
Jon Martindale is the Evergreen Coordinator for Computing, overseeing a team of writers addressing all the latest how to…
Best Lenovo laptop deals: Save on Yoga and ThinkPad laptops
Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8 front angled view showing display and keyboard deck.

Today some of the best laptop deals to shop come from Lenovo’s various laptop lineups, which is great news if you’re in the market for both a quality laptop and some savings. Lenovo is regularly among the best laptop brands and often places several models among the best laptops. You’ll find all sorts of Lenovo laptops discounted right now, so we’ve made shopping a little easier and have rounded up the best Lenovo laptop deals below. You can read onward for all of those details, and if you aren't finding the right laptop among what Lenovo has to offer you can check out the current Dell laptop deals, HP laptop deals, and MacBook deals.
Lenovo IdeaPad 1 — $150, was $250

The Lenovo IdeaPad 1 is a great alternative to the best budget laptops. It’s hard to beat this price tag when it comes to a Lenovo laptop, and even at this price point, the IdeaPad 1 doesn’t hold back on features. It has 14-inch HD display that’s great for binge watching on, and it’s about as portable as most laptops get, coming in at just over three pounds and not much more than half an inch thick. You’re able to connect an HD monitor to this laptop via HDMI connection, and a built-in webcam with privacy shutter and dual array microphone makes it a great way to keep in touch with family, friends, and colleagues.

Read more
Asus ROG Ally vs. Steam Deck: here’s how they compare
Asus ROG Ally and Steam Deck sitting next to each other.

It's been over a year since I originally wrote my Asus ROG Ally Z1 Extreme review, and the device has changed drastically in that time. It's still a compelling device that easily beats the Steam Deck in raw performance, but a slew of strange updates has left the ROG Ally in a weird spot compared to the Steam Deck.

For those who don't have a handheld gaming PC, the ROG Ally still wins over the Steam Deck. However, as you can read in our Steam Deck review, Valve's handheld still continues to be a force in the evolving world of gaming handhelds despite its aging hardware.
It's all a matter of price

Read more