US NSA hacked into Chinese telecom networks, state media says

Beijing has long accused the United States of carrying out cyberattacks on Chinese targets. But more recently he accused the US National Security Agency of hacking into specific targets.

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A US intelligence agency gained access to China’s telecommunications network after hacking into a university, Chinese state media said on Thursday.

The US National Security Agency used phishing – a hacking technique where a malicious link is included in an email – to gain access to government-funded Northwestern Polytechnical University, the Global Times has alleged, citing a source anonymous.

According to the Global Times, the US hackers stole “core technology data, including key network equipment configuration, network management data and basic operational data”, and other files.

As part of the NSA hack, the agency infiltrated Chinese telecom operators so the United States could “control the country’s infrastructure”, the Global Times alleged.

The NSA was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC. The hack has not been verified by CNBC.

The Global Times, citing its unnamed source, reported that more details about the attack on Northwestern Polytechnical University will be released soon.

For several years, China has accused the United States of cyberattacks but has not been specific. However, in recent weeks Beijing has been more vocal in attributing particular attacks to the United States, amid rising tensions between the two nations in the cybersphere.

Conversely, Washington and US cybersecurity firms have attributed specific attacks to China in recent years.

The alleged attack on Northwestern Polytechnic University was first revealed by China’s National Computer Virus Emergency Response Center earlier this month. The agency also accused the United States of engaging in “tens of thousands” of cyberattacks against Chinese targets.

For its part, the United States has accused China of massive hacking operations. Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray said in February that China’s cyberattacks had become “more brazen, more damaging than ever before.”

Wray accused China of trying to steal American information and technology.