The Mandiant findings make sense to L.C. Russell Hsiao, a senior research fellow at the Project 2049 Institute, a nonprofit group in Arlington, Va., that has made a specialty of analyzing China's cyber and signals intelligence units within the PLA.
In 2011, Project 2049 produced a report that also identifies Unit 61398 as a cyberespionage group run by the PLA that “appears to function as the Third Department’s premier entity targeting the United States and Canada, most likely focusing on political, economic, and military-related intelligence.”
Among the details in the Mandiant report:
“We believe the totality of the evidence we provide in this document bolsters the claim that APT1 is Unit 61398,” the report concludes.
Indeed, the report “provides a new baseline for the [intelligence] communities looking at these cyberespionage groups to ascertain the different groups and their activities,” Mr. Hsiao says.