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Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.)

Congressmen Point to Chinese Cyber Threat

June 13, 2008 08:58 AM
by Josh Katz
On Wednesday, two congressmen said that China had hacked their computers, adding to the history of similar accusations against the country.

30-Second Summary

Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.) says that four of his computers were hacked beginning in 2006. Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ), who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, says that two computers from his global human rights subcommittee were compromised in December 2006 and March 2007. Both congressmen claim that China was responsible for cyber crimes. Both lawmakers said the hackers penetrated information on political dissidents.

China has denied the allegations, and Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said, “Is there any evidence? ... Do we have such advanced technology? Even I don’t believe it.”

The U.S. government is also investigating whether China used stolen information, taken from a government laptop during U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez’s visit to the country in December 2007, to access Commerce Department computers.

And last September, officials charged China with hacking into Pentagon computers in a highly sophisticated attack earlier in the year.

Just Wednesday, national security agencies warned Americans visiting China for the Olympics this summer about the possibility of the Chinese hacking their electronic devices. “There is a high likelihood—virtually 100%—that if an individual is of security, political, or business interest” to the Chinese, “their electronics can and will be tampered with or penetrated,” Larry Wortzel, chair of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, said.

The Times of London
says that such breeches are likely to continue in the future because China is developing a “cyber army.” A recent article from National Journal Magazine even implicated China in the worst blackout in U.S. history, which occurred in 2003 in the northeast.
See Associated Press coverage

Headline Links: Chinese suspected in Capitol hacking; espionage at the Olympics

Reaction: ‘China denies hacking into U.S. computers’

Background: China’s reputed cyber threat

‘Chinese hacked into Pentagon’
China’s ‘cyber army’
China’s alleged role in U.S. blackouts
The security threat of computer chips

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