Comment Crew

PLA Unit 61398, referred to by the US as the ‘Comment Crew’ (owing to the collective’s past pattern of embedding HTML commands in the comments section of popular websites) is an alleged cyber-warfare unit of the Chinese military. As a hacker group the entity has been known to US intelligence agencies since 2002; they gave it the codename ‘Byzantine Candor.’

The unit is reported to operate out of a 12-story building in Shanghai and the surrounding neighborhood. The story was first broken by the ‘New York Times,’ based on information from a report by the computer security firm Mandiant, who were retained by the New York Times after a compromise of their own computer systems. Mandiant’s report states that PLA Unit 61398 is believed to be under the 2nd Bureau of the People’s Liberation Army General Staff’s Department (GSD) 3rd Department and that there is evidence that it contains an entity Mandiant calls APT1, part of the Advanced Persistent Threat attacking American corporations and government entities.

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