China military cyber war threat: Pentagon highlights Beijing’s secret plans to target U.S. military networks

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Chinese military cyber warfare efforts remain couched in secrecy as one of Beijing’s most closely held unacknowledged programs. And the secrecy surrounding the program is compounded by People’s Liberation Army (PLA) denial and deception operations. The Chinese government, true to its communist roots, uses lies and disinformation to confuse western governments and publics about one of Beijing’s most significant asymmetric warfare tools.

A Pentagon report to Congress made public Thursday provides few details about Chinese cyber warfare efforts. But it is significant for identifying the military aspects of Chinese military cyber warfare capabilities. The report identifies three types of activities related to Chinese cyberwarfare, based on two military academic reports – one of the few tools for U.S. intelligence to understand Chinese military programs.

“First, it will enable data collection for intelligence and computer network attack,” the report says. “Second, it constrains an adversary’s actions or slows their response. Third, it is as a force multiplier when coupled with kinetic attacks.”

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