China is escalating investment in cyber warfare capabilities that could target US computer networks, says a US government report.
Cyber incidents against US government websites increased by 20% in 2008, the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission said in its annual report.
The commission expects these attacks, most of which originate in China, to increase by up to 60% in 2009, according to US reports.
An increasing number of attacks carried out over the internet have explicitly political goals, according to a report published earlier this month by security firm McAfee.
The US, Russia, France, Israel and China are armed with cyberweapons, with the UK, Germany and North Korea preparing for a future in which conflict is partly conducted through the internet, the Virtual Criminology Report said.
Cyber attacks will increasingly become a component of war in the next 20 to 30 years, according to report contributor William Crowell, a former deputy director of the US National Security Agency.