Wed, Sep 05, 2007 - Page 1 News List

China denies hacking into the Pentagon's computers

AP , BEIJING

Accusations that the Chinese military had hacked into US Defense Department computers are "groundless," Chinese officials said yesterday.

The Financial Times said the People's Liberation Army hacked into a computer system in the office of US Defense Secretary Robert Gates in June, citing unnamed officials. The attack forced officials to take down the network for more than a week, the paper said.

"Some people make groundless accusations against China [that its military attacked the Pentagon]," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu (姜瑜) said at a regular news briefing.

"China has all along been opposed to and forbids criminal activities undermining computer networks, including hacking," she said. "China is ready to strengthen cooperation with other countries, including the US, in countering Internet crimes."

The Financial Times report said the Pentagon was still investigating how much information was stolen, but cited an unnamed person as saying that most of it was probably unclassified.

It was the second time in two weeks that China was accused of hacking into a foreign government's computers. On the eve of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to Beijing, the weekly Der Spiegel said computers at the Chancellery and three ministries had been infected with spy programs.

At the time, Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) called the reported hacking a "matter of grave concern" and said China would take action to prevent such crimes.

The Pentagon warned earlier this year that China's army is emphasizing hacking as an offensive weapon.

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