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China says US distorting facts on cost of hacking

FBI head's claim that Chinese hacking costs the US billions each year is an "unjustified fabrication of facts," says the Chinese government.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger


The Chinese government is again upset with the US, this time over claims that China's hacking activities are costing the US some serious cash.

In an interview on "60 Minutes" on Sunday, FBI Director James Comey said Chinese hackers are actively targeting US companies and costing the government billions of dollars each year. The Chinese government responded on Thursday, saying that Comey's comments are an "unjustified fabrication of facts," according to Reuters, which was in attendance at a government briefing.

The US and China have been waging a very public war of words over the last couple of years, with both countries arguing the other is actively engaged in hacking and stealing secrets. Earlier this year, the US filed criminal charges against five Chinese military officers for allegedly hacking US companies. While China denied the claims, the US has said it has proof and wants to bring those people to justice. So far, that hasn't happened.

During the briefing, a government spokesman accused the US of engaging in wide-spread cyberattacks against other countries.

"We also demand that the US side cease its large-scale systematic Internet attacks on other countries," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei, according to Reuters. "The United States tries to divert attention by crying wolf. This won't succeed."

For its part, the US has denied any wrongdoing and remained tight-lipped about its cyber activities. That doesn't mean, however, the US government isn't engaging in cyberespionage to combat Internet attacks waged by China.