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UK Blames China for Hacking into its Government Systems

Cyber spies suspected to belong to Chinese military have been hacking into the British government computer systems.

On September 3, 2007, The Guardian newspaper in London reported that there had been hacking of computer networks at a number of Whitehall departments. Officials said the hackers had attacked the systems at the Foreign Office as well as the networks at other important departments. Also, the British government authorities have not said what or how much of the information was lost or the extent of damage on their systems. They have not even formally confirmed the hacking attack. Quite similar to them, even Beijing has not said anything about the allegations.

The report notes that the accusation on China's army of infiltrating into computers of foreign governments has been for the third time in two weeks. The latest attacks highlight the intensity with which China is strategizing cyber warfare, making a shift from defensive to offensive attitude, and increasing the refinement in its hacking techniques.

Earlier in 2006, when the computer network at the House of Commons was partially shut down due to a hacking attempt, the origin of the crime was found to be China's PLA or People's Liberation Army.

In the first week of September 2007, US officials blamed China for hacking into the e-mail system in the Office of Robert Gates, the US Defense Secretary. Sources in Whitehall confirmed that there were problems as a result of the recent attacks where hackers in Russia and China hit as many as ten departments.

Senior security analyst Greg Day at McAfee, EMEA, believes the attackers wanted to get sensitive government information to break the information flow inside the UK and US administrations. SCMagazine reported this on September 6, 2007.

However, according to a Chinese Embassy spokesman on September 5 2007, China was against all cyber crime including hacking into computer networks. He said hacking was a world affair and China too suffered from it as a victim. The country was ready to strengthen co-operation with nations all over the world including the United Kingdom in fighting Internet crimes such as hacking, the spokesman added.

Related article: US Passes Baton to Asia in Spam Relay

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