Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Reorganization of China’s Military Cyber Forces

A significant reform of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) instituted by President Xi Jinping on 31 December 2015, has resulted in a sweeping restructure of PLA command elements and combat forces. This restructure has impacted China’s military cyber forces that include identified cyber actors. The PLA General Staff Third Department, under which these military cyber actors were subordinated, was apparently disestablished. This report analyzes how China’s military cyber forces are currently structured, and where they are located in China’s military structure.

Information available from Chinese open sources, while still fragmentary, suggests that the following changes have taken place in Chinese cyber forces:
  • The former Third Department is now subordinated under an entirely new branch of service: the PLA Strategic Support Force (SSF).
  • The Third Department is now known as the SSF Network Systems Department. This was indicated by references to former Third Department elements that are now under this new entity.
  • The Third Department Eighth Bureau was one element identified as under the Network Systems Department. This suggests that cyber actors are also under the Network Systems Department.
  • The Third Department’s technical reconnaissance bureaus are probably also under the Network Systems Department...READ MORE
Publication Date: 20 December 2016
Handling Requirements: Traffic light protocol (TLP) GREEN.
Attribution/Threat Actors: State actors who are organized, highly technical, proficient, well-funded professionals working in teams to discover new vulnerabilities and develop exploits.
Actor Type: Adversary capabilities have been assessed as Tier IV.
Industries Targeted: US government, Department of Defense, defense contractors, and other US corporations.
Previous Reporting: N/A

The full report may be viewed in the Red Sky Alliance as DOC-4556.  
Contact Wapack Labs for more information.