China today asked the U.S. government to stop spying on it, China’s first reaction to WikiLeaks’ disclosure of a trove of CIA documents that alleged the agency was able to hack smartphones, personal computers, routers and other digital devices worldwide.
“We urge the U.S. to stop listening in, monitoring, stealing secrets and [conducting] cyber-attacks against China and other countries,” said Geng Shuang, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said today in a Beijing press briefing.
Geng also said that China would protect its own networks, was willing to work with others toward what he called “orderly cyberspace,” and repeated his government’s stock denunciation of hacking.
The U.S. and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) regularly exchanges accusations of government-sanctioned cyber spying and more run-of-the-mill criminal hacking. In 2015, when the two countries signed their first cybercrime and cyberespionage agreement, the deal excluded government-based espionage.
On Tuesday, Wikileaks published nearly 9,000 documents it claimed came from the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence. The cache described how the intelligence agency collected “zero-day” vulnerabilities — those that had not been publicly reported and patched — and aimed original and re-purposed malware against targets ranging from iPhones and smart TVs to Internet routers and Windows PCs.
Today, the secrets-spilling WikiLeaks implied it may share some of the most sensitive information with affected vendors like Apple, Cisco, and Microsoft so that they can fix potential flaws in their code.
WikiLeaks has so far withheld the source code of the CIA attack tools from the massive data dump.