A new federal report released Wednesday revealed evidence of an unrelenting campaign of cyber-stealing linked to the Chinese government.
Away from the glitzy tall skyscrapers that symbolize downtown Shanghai, sits a non-descript building on the outskirts of the city.
Inside what's being called "Unit 6139," the Chinese government has an army of English-speaking hackers allegedly stealing America's corporate secrets and breaking into military sites.
"This is an espionage operation run by the Chinese People's Liberation Army, targeting a broad swath of Western organizations," Grady Summers, vice president at Mandiant, said.
The Virginia-based cybersecurity firm released details of the report earlier this week.
How vulnerable is America to a wide-scale cyber attack? Tim Newberry, with the technology incubation firm White Canvas Group, talks about this and more, on CBN Newswatch, Feb.20.
Among China's targets: critical U.S. infrastructures, including water treatment plants, transportation, and food supply. But security experts are most concerned about vulnerabilities to the power grid.
"Because we have 18 critical infrastructures in the United States, water, food, sewage etc., all 17 of the others depend on electricity. So if the grid is taken down by an electromagnetic pulse or anything, you are not back in the 1970s pre-web, you are back in the 1870s pre-electricity," former CIA director James Woosley said.
Also on the list: Lockheed Martin, maker of the F-35 jet fighters and numerous corporate giants like Coca Cola.
"There's no question about it that cyber warfare and cyber attacks and cyber theft are absolutely the future," security expert Brad Garrett said.
Hours after the study's release China called the accusations "groundless."
"China firmly opposes cyber attacks and enacted laws and regulations to severely punish hacking action," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said.
Still, the study reveals some 140 U.S companies have been on the Chinese hit list since 2006.
"The Chinese are not going to let this level of hacking and cyber espionage to go on without them controlling it," Garrett said.
Fearing they will only get worse, the White House announced new measures Wednesday, including fines and other trade sanctions against China or any other country that engages in cyber-espionage.
"We have repeatedly raised our concerns at the highest levels about cyber theft with senior Chinese officials, including in the military, and we will continue to do so," White House press secretary Jay Carney said.