China ‘hacked' into Pentagon defence system
By Demetri Sevastopulo in Washington and Richard McGregor in Beijing
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
The Chinese military hacked into a Pentagon computer network in June in the most successful cyber attack on the US defence department, say US officials.
The Pentagon acknowledged shutting down part of a computer system serving the office of Robert Gates, defence secretary, but declined to say who it believed was behind the attack.
Current and former officials have told the Financial Times that an internal investigation has revealed that the incursion came from the People's Liberation Army.
One senior US official said the Pentagon had pinpointed the exact origins of the attack. Another person familiar with the event said there was a “very high level of confidence . . . trending towards total certainty” that the PLA was responsible. The Defence Ministry in Beijing declined to comment yesterday.
Angela Merkel, Germany's chancellor, raised reports of Chinese infiltration of German government computers with Wen Jiabao, China's premier, in a visit to Beijing, after which the Chinese foreign ministry said the government opposed and forbade “any criminal acts undermining computer systems, including hacking”.
“We have explicit laws and regulations in this regard,” said Jiang Yu, from the ministry. “Hacking is a global issue and China is frequently a victim.”
President George W. Bush is due to meet Hu Jintao, China's president, on Thursday in Australia prior to the Apec summit.
The PLA regularly probes US military networks – and the Pentagon is widely assumed to scan Chinese networks – but US officials said the penetration in June raised concerns to a new level because of fears that China had shown it could disrupt systems at critical times.
“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,” said a former official, who said the PLA had penetrated the networks of US defence companies and think-tanks.
Hackers from numerous locations in China spent several months probing the Pentagon system before overcoming its defences, according to people familiar with the matter.
英国《金融时报》季米特里•斯瓦斯托普洛(Demetri Sevastopulo)华盛顿、马利德(Richard McGregor)北京报道
美国总统乔治•布什(George W. Bush)计划在出席亚太经合组织(Apec)峰会前、于周四在澳大利亚与中国国家主席***会晤。