China claims 13 NSA operators hacked into university

China blames 13 NSA operators for hacking into a state-funded university with aeronautics and space research programs, continuing an ongoing feud of spying accusations between the countries.

China's National Computer Virus Emergency Response Centre stated that the National Security Agency's (NSA) Office of Tailored Access Operations targeted Northwestern Polytechnical University in Xi'an, which reported computer break-ins from overseas in June.

Later, it released a statement allegedly claiming to identified 13 NSA operators responsible for the hack. It was not specified how exactly the source of attacks was identified.

A separate statement added that the NSA carried out over 10,000 cyberattacks on Chinese targets in recent years, amounting to over 140 gigabytes of data of “great value.”

The accusations add to the line of previous cyberwar-related blames. As such, China accused the US of spying on a variety of state institutions and energy companies. Washington, in turn, accused China of stealing commercial secrets. The US frequently cautions against comparing “operations conducted for national security” with “the industrial espionage” it accuses China of.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said that such actions pose danger to China’s national security. She also added that Washington frequently eavesdrops on Chinese mobile phones and steals text messages.

Northwestern Polytechnical University is on a U.S. government “entity list” for its potential involvement in military research, meaning that it doesn’t have extensive access to American technology.

Previously, China accused the NSA of hacking into the computers of Tsinghua University, which is home to the country’s oldest Internet hub. The statements were based on documents revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden, wanted by the US government for leaking top-secret NSA documents about US surveillance on phone and internet communications.

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