Chinese websites target US systems

US analysts are divided over whether the attacks were an effort by Chinese Govt or if it was work of other hackers.

| Updated on: Aug 25 2005, 12:19 IST

Websites in China are being used as a staging ground for attacks on computer networks in the US Defence 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 Defence Department but a wide variety of networks that have been hit,' including the departments of State, Energy, and Homeland Security as well as defence contractors, one official was quoted as saying.

'This is an ongoing, organised 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 US analysts were divided over whether the attacks were a coordinated effort by the Chinese government to penetrate US 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 Defence 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 compromised.

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First Published Date: 25 Aug, 11:15 IST
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