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China's Army Hacked Pentagon Network
Deutsche Presse-Agentur  |  September 05, 2007
China's Army hacked into a computer network at the Pentagon in an attack that has US officials concerned about the growing regularity and sophistication of China's technological assaults, the Financial Times reported Tuesday.

Computer specialists with the People's Liberation Army (PLA) penetrated an unclassified network used by policy aides to US Defence Secretary Robert Gates in June, resulting in a weeklong shutdown of the system, the newspaper said in a report that quoted unnamed US officials.

The PLA has demonstrated the ability to conduct attacks that disable our system ... and the ability in a conflict situation to re-enter and disrupt on a very large scale," a former official was quoted as saying by the Financial Times, adding that China's Army has also hacked into the networks of US defence companies and think tanks.

The penetration of the Pentagon network three months ago came after the US Defence Department had staved off the hacker attacks for several months and as China's military has been testing the Pentagon networks hundreds of times a day for the past few years, the British newspaper said in a report from Washington.

An unnamed senior US official told the Times that "no doubt" existed that China was monitoring e-mails sent on unclassified US government networks.

The report was not the first accusing China's Army of breaking into the computer networks of foreign governments. Germany's Der Spiegel news magazine reported two days before German Chancellor Angela Merkel met Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao in Beijing last week that Chinese hackers had infiltrated German government computers with spy programs.

The article said intelligence services suspected hackers in the Chinese army were behind the online attacks on computers in Merkel's offices, the Foreign Ministry, the Economics Ministry, and the Research and Development Ministry. The first spy programs were found several months ago, it added, citing an investigation by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Germany's domestic intelligence agency, and the Federal Office for Information Security.

Although Wen and Merkel did not address the charges in Der Spiegel's report when they spoke to reporters August 27, Wen vowed that his government would take measures to eliminate hacker attacks.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman also said during Merkel's visit that Beijing opposes and has outlawed computer hacking and is cooperating with other countries to combat computer crimes.

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