The U.S. Department of Defence (DOD) warns China continues to develop cyberwarfare units and viruses:
"The PLA has established information warfare units to develop viruses to attack enemy computer systems and networks," the annual DOD report on China's military warned. At the same, Chinese armed forces are developing ways to protect its own systems from an enemy attack, it said, echoing similar warnings made in previous years.
These capabilities are part of China's ongoing military modernization efforts, which have seen the country add dozens of high-tech fighters and ballistic missiles to its arsenal. China isn't alone in building the capability to attack an enemy's computer systems. The U.S. and other countries have developed similar abilities.
The PLA's virus-writing efforts have been underway for years, reflecting the importance that China apparently attaches to information warfare. As early as 2000, the DOD warned, "China has the capability to penetrate poorly protected U.S. computer systems and potentially could use CNA [computer network attacks] to attack specific U.S. civilian and military infrastructures."