TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Chinese Web Sites used to Target U.S. Systems

Chinese Web Sites used to Target U.S. Systems

Reuters News Wire (
Thu, 25 Aug 2005 10:30:23 -0500

Web sites in China are being used as a staging ground for attacks on
computer networks in the U.S. Defense Department and other agencies,
the Washington Post reported on Thursday.

The newspaper said no classified systems have been compromised but
officials were concerned that data pulled together from different
agencies could become useful intelligence to an adversary.

The newspaper cited four government officials who spoke separately
about the intrusions, which were said to go back two or three
years. It said the FBI had launched an investigation.

"It's not just the Defense Department but a wide variety of networks
that have been hit," including the departments of State, Energy, and
Homeland Security as well as defense contractors, one official was
quoted as saying.

"This is an ongoing, organized attempt to siphon off information from
our unclassified systems." the official said.

All of the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the
sensitivity of the matter, the Post said.

The report said U.S. analysts were divided over whether the attacks
were a coordinated effort by the Chinese government to penetrate
U.S. government databanks or if it was the work of other hackers using
Chinese networks to hide the origin of the intrusions.

Pentagon figures show that more attempts to scan Defense Department
systems come from China than any other country, the Post said.

But a Pentagon official said that does not mean China is where the
probes start.

Lt. Col. Mike VanPutte, vice director of operations for a new task
force that manages the Pentagon's computer networks, told the
newspaper that China is a convenient "steppingstone" for hackers
because of the large number of computers there that can be

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.

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