"The Chinese were first to use cyberattacks for political and military goals," James Mulvenon, an expert on China's military and director of the Center for Intelligence and Research in Washington, said in the McAfee report.In fact, several governments have used cyberattacks for intelligence gathering dating back to the late 1980s when the Soviet Union used a group of German nationals to penetrate U.S. and European computer systems.
"Whether it is a battlefield preparation or hacking networks connected to the German chancellor they are the first state actor to jump feet first into the 21st century cyber warfare technology. This is becoming a more serious and open problem," he continued."
Germany was alleged to have used a separate group of 'hackers' to test the effectiveness of computer intrusions for economic espionage against the U.S. in an operation called 'Rehab' in 1989.
With this said, reports do indicate a large amount of illicit network activity originating from China. However, since the details of these intrusions are classified, it is impossible to fully analyze motives or the true origins of the attacks.
Cyber 'Cold War' Exists With China