Even as China appeals for calm in the tense Korean Peninsula, today’s WikiLeaks reveals U.S. concerns over a mysterious “Chinese Super Cyberweapon” that the Pentagon has dubbed “The War Cloud.”
The leaked U.S. diplomatic cables highlight U.S. concerns about China’s computer-warfare capability, and come as Beijing faces mounting pressure from Washington to contain North Korea’s sabre-rattling ahead of next month’s visit to the U.S. by President Hu Jintao.
A cable from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing alleges that China’s most powerful governing committee, the Politburo, ordered a twin-headed cyberattack on U.S. government computer systems and on Google earlier this year.
Those attacks not only gave China access to millions of Americans’ private emails and computer hard drives, but inserted a cyberworm inside U.S. defense networks that Pentagon insiders say they still have not been able to entirely dislodge.
“We have no idea what its true purpose is, except that it has infiltrated the deepest recesses of the Cloud, which is that amorphous array of Web-based applications and services that entire governments, corporations and private citizens have come to rely upon in the 21st century,” said a Pentagon spokesperson on condition of anonymity. “That’s what worries us.”
China’s government has repeatedly denied any involvement in cyberattacks, or responsibility for what the Pentagon calls “The War Cloud Worm.” But a Google spokeswoman essentially called that a lie by saying: “We have conclusive evidence that the attack came from China.”
Officially, the Pentagon has no comment and will not acknowledge or verify the existence of The War Cloud.
The U.S. State Department, for its part, says these leaks are illegal and that it is in damage-control mode. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton already has spoken about the leaks by telephone with her Chinese counterpart, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi.
That conversation, however, has not been leaked—yet.