China has angrily denounced Google's claims that it has uncovered a sophisticated spear phishing attack on key US individuals which originated from the heavily firewalled country.
Google said in a blog post that the campaign "affected what seem to be the personal Gmail accounts of hundreds of users including, among others, senior U.S. government officials, Chinese political activists, officials in several Asian countries (predominantly South Korea), military personnel and journalists."
China's response has been swift, if characteristically idiosyncratic.
"Blaming these misdeeds on China is unacceptable," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a news briefing in Beijing, according to The Telegraph.
"Hacking is an international problem and China is also a victim. The claims of so-called Chinese state support for hacking are completely fictitious and have ulterior motives."
Official Chinese news agency Xinhua published an editorial titled 'Google's groundless accuses hurt global trust on Internet'.
The piece stated, "The chimerical complaints by Google have become obstacles for enhancing global trust between stakeholders in cyberspace."
It said it was not appropriate for Google, as a business, to act as an "internet judge".
It added, "Google has not always followed business ethics as it says. The American media reported in mid-May that Google had not been vigilant about policing online pharmaceutical advertisements because they are so lucrative.
"As a result, the Internet search leader distributed online advertisements from illegal pharmacies."
Xinhua also rubbished Google's previous claims that it had traced last year's Aurora attacks to computers at Chinese Shanghai Jiaotong University and Lanxiang Vocational School.
"The report amused many Chinese at that time since Lanxiang Vocational School enjoys a good fame at training chefs for local restaurants," Xinhua said.
Which is of course just what you would say if you were conducting a cyberwar. ®