French information systems fell prey to cyber attacks "involving China," similar to those reported by the US, British and German governments, a top French security official said yesterday.
"We have indications that our information systems were the object of attacks, like in the other countries," said Secretary-General of National Defense Francis Delon, confirming a story published in the French daily Le Monde.
"We have proof that there is involvement with China. But I am prudent. When I say China, this does not mean the Chinese government. We don't have any indication now that it was done by the Chinese People's Liberation Army," he added.
Asked which computer systems had been hacked, Delon said they "concerned the services of the [French] state."
A source close to the issue said the French defense ministry's public Internet site was targeted, but that it contained no confidential information. The attack was made by cyber saboteurs to "test information technology defenses."
China vehemently denied that its army was involved in international computer espionage on Thursday after newspaper reports that the British government had sustained cyber attacks from the Chinese.
The Times and Independent newspapers in London said Chinese computer hackers had infiltrated British government networks.
And the Times yesterday quoted what it said was a Pentagon report that Chinese military hackers have drawn up a plan to disable the US battle carrier fleet.
Beijing was planning "electronic dominance" over its global rivals by 2050, the daily said.
The Pentagon said on Tuesday that several nations and groups had been trying to break into the US military's computer system, after the Financial Times reported China's military had successfully hacked into the network in June.
German weekly Der Spiegel reported that espionage programs traced to the People's Liberation Army had been detected in computer systems at Chancellor Angela Merkel's office, the foreign ministry and other government agencies.