A private technology security firm on Tuesday described in extraordinary detail efforts it blamed on a Chinese military unit to hack into 141 businesses, mostly inside the U.S., and steal commercial secrets. China denies the claim. Here's a look at the company, Mandiant, and why its report is significant.
What is Mandiant?
Headquartered in Alexandria, Va., Mandiant was started in 2004 by Kevin Mandia, a retired Air Force officer who carved out a lucrative niche investigating computer crimes. Mandiant says it can detect and trace even quiet intrusions, such as the theft of employee passwords or trade secrets that a company otherwise might not be aware is happening.
Mandiant was most recently noted for its work in helping The New York Times trace an attack on its employees' computers to China, following a Times investigation into China's Premier Wen Jiabao. The newspaper publicly acknowledged Mandiant's role in the case. Are there other companies like Mandiant? Why not just call the FBI?