Facepalm: The term "Chinese hacker" has become a common saying in pop culture, but it seems the Asian nation has a similar term for the US: the "Empire of Hacking." The name appears in a new Chinese report that accuses the CIA of using cyberattacks against China and other countries.

As per The Reg, an investigation called "The Matrix" conducted by the National Computer Virus Emergency Response Center of China and local cybersecurity firm 360 Total Security has been published in a report titled Empire of Hacking: The US Central Intelligence Agency – Part I.

The report claims that investigators examining a number of cyberattacks within China captured and extracted a large number of Trojans, functional plug-ins, and attack platform samples alleged to be closely associated with the CIA, revealing an "empire of hackers" under US control, writes the South China Morning Post.

"These cyberweapons have undergone strict, standardised, and professional software engineering management, which is uniquely followed by the CIA in developing cyberattack weapons," the report states.

But many of the findings come from old information gleaned from a 2017 series of leaks on the CIA by Wikileaks, codenamed Vault7. It included details of the agency's global covert hacking program, the malware it used, and dozens of zero-day weaponized exploits against a wide range of US and European company products, including Apple and Android phones, Windows, and smart TVs, which were exploited so their microphones could be used as listening devices.

"They have now covered almost all internet and IoT assets globally, allowing control over foreign networks and theft of important, sensitive data at any time," the report said. "Targets of these attacks include critical information infrastructure, aerospace, research institutions, oil and petrochemical industries, large internet companies, and government agencies in various countries. These attacks can be traced back to 2011 and have continued until now."

The report also mentions the CIA's history of trying to undermine socialist regimes, as well as the United States' development of the TOR protocol, which China has spoken out against on many occasions due to its use by those who disagree with the country's ruling Communist party.

"The US must take seriously and respond to the concerns from the international community, and stop using cyber weapons to carry out espionage and cyber attacks around the world," said foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning.

China and the US have a long history when it comes to hacking. In 2015, then-President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that they had come to an agreement that "neither country's government will conduct or knowingly support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property." But attacks on US companies by Chinese government-backed hackers were reported just a few weeks later.

One of the biggest hacks the US blamed on China in recent times was the one on Microsoft Exchange in 2021.

In February last year, Federal Bureau of Investigation director Christopher Wray said that China is responsible for more cyberattacks on the US than every other country combined.

It's not just CIA hacks China likes to complain about. The government has repeatedly called the CHIPS Act discriminatory and claimed it shows the US' Cold War mentality. The number of chip-related export restrictions is also a sore point, especially now the US has convinced Japan and The Netherlands to tighten their rules, too.