The US Department of Defense (DoD) has expressed concern over China's rapidly evolving cyber-warfare capabilities.
According to the Pentagon, computer systems around the world, including those owned and operated by the US government, continue to be the target of intrusions that "appear" to originate within the PRC.
Such intrusions typically focus on the rapid extraction of strategic, military and commercial data.
"The accesses and skills required for these intrusions are similar to those necessary to conduct computer network attacks," the Pentagon stated in its annual report to Congress.
"[However], it remains unclear if these intrusions were conducted by, or with the endorsement of, the PLA or other elements of the PRC
government. [Nevertheless], developing capabilities for cyber-warfare is consistent with authoritative PLA military writings."
To illustrate its point, the DoD noted that Canadian researchers had identified an electronic spy network based primarily in China which successfully infiltrated government offices around the world during 2009.
In addition, the report emphasized that China was improving information and operational security to protect its own information structures, while simultaneously developing electronic and information warfare capabilities.
"China's information blockade likely envisions employment of military and
non-military instruments of state power across the battlespace, including in cyberspace and outer space.
"[The country's] investments in advanced electronic warfare systems, counter-space weapons, and computer network operations - combined with more traditional forms of control historically associated with the PLA and CCP systems, such as propaganda and denial through opacity, reflect the emphasis and priority China's leaders place on building capability for information advantage," concluded the report.