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CYBER WARS
Xi wants China to be 'cyber power': Xinhua
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Feb 27, 2014


US slaps Briton with fresh hacking charges
New York (AFP) Feb 27, 2014 - The United States on Thursday slapped two extra charges against a British man accused of hacking into thousands of US government computer systems, officials said.

Prosecutors in New York indicted Lauri Love, 28, on one count of hacking into the Federal Reserve and one count of aggravated identity theft. If convicted on these latest charges, he faces 12 years in prison.

He was already facing up to five years in prison and and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, on each of two counts in New Jersey.

He has been charged there with hacking the computer networks of US Army, Missile Defense Agency, NASA and other agencies.

Now, prosecutors allege that Love and other computer hackers from overseas, from October 2012 to February 2013, stole and disseminated information from the Federal Reserve's network.

The data allegedly included identifying information of military service personnel and others.

Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara described Love as a "sophisticated hacker" who broke into Federal Reserve computers, stole and made widely available sensitive personal information.

"We place a high priority on the investigation and prosecution of hackers who intrude into our infrastructure and threaten the personal security of our citizens," he said in a statement.

FBI assistant director-in-charge George Venizelos said Love "underestimated the level of sophistication and dedication" of the FBI cyber division to track down his alleged crimes.

In New Jersey, prosecutors had said Love and his conspirators planned and executed the attacks in online chat rooms to "disrupt the operations and infrastructure of the United States government."

Love was arrested at his home in Britain on October 25.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for his country to become a "cyber power," state media reported Thursday after he chaired a meeting of a special group focused on Internet security.

"Efforts should be made to build our country into a cyber power," he said, according to Xinhua, which cited a statement it said was released after the group's first meeting earlier in the day.

"We should be fully aware of the importance and urgency of Internet security and informatisation," he said.

Xi heads the "leading group," Xinhua said, with Premier Li Keqiang and Liu Yunshan -- who along with Xi and Li is a member of the Communist Party's powerful politburo standing committee -- the deputy heads.

At the meeting, Xi emphasised that Internet security is a key strategic and security issue for China, Xinhua reported.

Xi's call comes as the question of large-scale cyber espionage has become a key point of contention for China and the United States, the world's two biggest economies and which both possess large militaries.

In a report released in February last year, security firm Mandiant said China was devoting thousands of people to a military-linked unit that has pilfered intellectual property and government secrets.

In November, the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission said in its annual report to Congress that China has not curbed rampant spying on American interests.

The report accused China of "directing and executing a large-scale cyber espionage campaign," penetrating the US government and private industry. China has vehemently denied accusations of cyber espionage.

Beijing has also cited leaks by former American intelligence contractor Edward Snowden -- revealing mass US electronic surveillance programmes -- as evidence that the United States is guilty of double standards when it comes to online espionage.

US President Barack Obama said last year that he and Xi had "very blunt conversations" about cyber-hacking when they met for a summit in June in California.

Xi insisted at a joint press appearance during the meeting that China itself was a victim of cyber theft.

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