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

2007年9月4日 星期二


五角大楼承认,当时关闭了部分为美国国防部长罗伯特•盖茨(Robert Gates)办公室服务的计算机系统,但拒绝表示他们认为谁是此次攻击的幕后人物。



德国总理安吉拉•默克尔(Angela Merkel)在访问北京期间,曾向中国总理***提及有关中方渗入德国政府计算机系统的报道。此前,中国外交部表示,中国政府一贯反对和严禁“包括‘黑客'行为在内的任何破坏计算机网络的犯罪活动。”


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。