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December 3, 2015

China denies OPM hack, signs US cyber crime pact

News: Further talks wills happen, despite lack of trust.

By Charlotte Henry

Following talks that started weeks ago, the US and China have come to an agreement on cyber crime.

The two nations have agreed to hold a "tabletop" cyber crime exercise in 2016 and establish a cyber crime hotline between the presidents of the two nations. Further talks will also be held in Beijing in June next year.

The US Department of Justice also said that agreements had been reached "on a document establishing guidelines for requesting assistance on cybercrime or other malicious cyber activities", and that there will be further co-operation on the subject.

The hack on the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has heightened tensions between the two. The Chinese state denied that it was responsible for the breach of 5.6m fingerprint records stolen from the US government department, despite US insistence to the contrary.

Chinese state media has now reported that arrests in the case have been made in the country, but that those accused are not state sponsored.

The initial cyber pact also appeared to be broken in October, when security firm CrowdStrike claimed that China had conducted industrial espionage, and was continuing to steal US intellectual property.

Due to a lack of trust between the two nations, Chinese state owned firms are increasingly manufacturing secure devices for the country’s officials, so they do not have to use US based technology.

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Commenting on the progress, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said: "The one thing that certainly can be pointed to as at least incremental progress is that Chinese officials did follow through on our joint commitment to pursue a cybersecurity dialogue."

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