Thu, Nov 01, 2007 - Page 1 News List

MND mum on PRC hacking allegation

SPIES LIKE US? A DPP legislator said China should stop accusing others given that states such as the US had complained about the activities of Chinese hackers

AP , TAIPEI

A Ministry of National Defense official yesterday denied knowledge of an alleged Taiwanese spy who had reportedly hacked into sensitive government computer systems in China.

China's state-run Global Times reported on Tuesday that Chinese officials were looking for Lee Fang-jung (李芳榮), said to be an agent of Taiwan's military intelligence who planted "Trojan" horse programs in computer systems belonging to unnamed economic, military and diplomatic institutions to steal classified information.

A "Trojan" horse program gives a user remote access to the contents of his target's computer.

The Global Times attributed its information to an unidentified official in a "related" Chinese department. It did not identify the department, but the implication was that it was part of the Chinese intelligence apparatus.

The newspaper said Lee was in Taiwan, but that he had previously been in Moscow, where he might have carried out the hacking.

In response, Vice Minister of National Defense Lin Chen-yi (林鎮夷) said that the ministry was not aware of the person the Chinese government was looking for.

"I have no information about the issue so I would not like to comment on it," Lin said.

"Even if it were true, we are not worried because the Military Intelligence Bureau has its own mechanisms to protect its agents," Lin said.

China's Taiwan Affairs Office said yesterday it had taken note of the news report and was collating additional details on the affair.

"We have noticed related reports," office spokesman Yang Yi (楊毅) said. "For years, Taiwanese intelligence agencies have stolen secret network information on a broad scale from the mainland and caused vile consequences."

In Taipei, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Sandy Yen (莊和子) said in a press release that Beijing was humiliating itself with the accusation.

"The Chinese government actually has a `hacking department,' and it is the most well-organized hacking organization in the world. While they are stealing all kinds of intelligence and high-tech secrets from other countries, how can they complain when their own secrets are stolen?" Yen said.

Yen said that many countries had complained about the activities of Chinese hackers. Her research showed that one-third of the world's computer viruses were created by Chinese hackers.

China recently came under fire from Germany, Britain and the US for alleged hacking activities of its own. Unidentified officials in the three countries say government and military networks there have been broken into by hackers backed by the Chinese army.

"Under the circumstances, how can they blame other people for stealing their secrets or damaging their databases by using the same methods?" Yen said.

Additional reporting by Jimmy Chuang

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