A war of words that broke out between superpowers US and China over recent Gmail hacking heightened tension between the world's top military powers.
Two Chinese military officers from the Academy of Military Science, Beijing, have announced that the country must make mastering cyber-warfare a military priority to protect the country from a US-led Internet war.
The announcement follows the allegations from the Google that private Gmail account of more than a hundred people including the US government officials were hacked by Chinese hackers.
The announcement also came only days after United States announced that the military is ready to use force in response to cyber threats. The US Department of Defense (DOD) announced announced that that agency’s cyberspace operations will fully commence next month but the country will not step back from using physical means to protect the country from any cyber attack that may prove to be a threat for the country.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered an FBI probe into “very serious” allegations that a Chinese hacker stole login details.
The two Chinese military officials, Senior Colonel Ye Zheng and Zhao Baoxian, are strategists from the People's Liberation Army's Academy of Military Sciences.
The essay by two officials in the Communist Party-controlled China Youth Daily says “Beijing is focused on honing its cyber-warfare skills, and sees “an unfettered Internet as a threat to its Communist Party-run state.”
Just as nuclear warfare was the strategic war of the industrial era, cyber-warfare has become the strategic war of the information era, and this has become a form of battle that is massively destructive and concerns the life and death of nations, they wrote in the Party-run paper.
Earlier on Thursday, foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters that an effort to put all of the blame on China was unacceptable. China itself had been a victim of hacking attacks and that the government pays great attention to cyber security. The so-called statement that the Chinese government supports hacking attacks is a total fabrication and has ulterior motives.
Google said on Wednesday that hackers were trying to monitor the contents of these users' emails, with the perpetrators apparently using stolen passwords to change peoples' forwarding and delegation settings.
The world's largest Internet company said that attacks were the latest computer-based invasions directed at western companies and come a year after Google and numerous companies were targeted by hackers traced to China.