China Denies Hacking US Lawmakers' Computers
By Daniel Schearf
12 June 2008
China has rejected accusations that government-backed hackers broke into U.S. lawmakers' computers. Two U.S. Representatives this week revealed sources apparently inside China accessed their computers and copied sensitive information about Chinese dissidents and human rights. Daniel Schearf reports from Beijing.
China's Foreign Ministry poured doubt on allegations that China was behind the hacking of at least five U.S. computers.
From left: Congressmen Frank Wolf, Pete Hoekstra and Chris Smith, 11 Jun 2008
U.S. Congressman Frank Wolf, a Virginia Republican, says four of his staff's computers were hacked into in 2006. Republican Congressman Chris Smith from New Jersey says one of his staff computers was also hacked.
The legislators said an FBI investigation showed the attacks came from China.
But China's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Qin Gang, told journalists that China is still a developing country. He said they did not have the technology to carry out such cyber-attacks.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang (file photo)
He says some people in the U.S. should not be so paranoid or always make sensational comments. Instead, he says, they should do more to contribute to U.S.-China mutual understanding and friendship.
The congressman acknowledged that hackers could make it appear the attacks were coming from China. But they said in one case a virus was used to retrieve information specifically about China.
Congressman Wolf indicated some of the information may have been used by Chinese officials who were discovered photographing a Chinese dissident's house in the United States.
The congressmen said other legislators also had their computers hacked into and they needed to be made aware of the threat.
This is not the first time the Chinese government has been accused of hacking into government computers.
Last year the Pentagon said sources that appeared to be in China hacked into an unclassified U.S. Defense Department computer system. The German, British, and French governments have also reported computer attacks, also apparently from China.