Hackers Attack Via Chinese Web Sites

Washington Post (08/25/05) P. A1; Graham, Bradley; Eggen, Dan

Hackers have been focusing attacks on hundreds of unclassified U.S. government systems through Chinese Web sites for several years, reported anonymous government officials. Analysts are split on whether these intrusions are the work of a coordinated Chinese government initiative to breach U.S. networks and monitor government databanks, or other hackers using Chinese networks to mask the attacks’ point of origin. “This is an ongoing, organized attempt to siphon off information from our unclassified systems,” said one official, who noted that State, Energy, Defense, and Homeland Security Department networks are among those targeted. With roughly 5 million computers spread across the globe, the Pentagon has more computers than any other agency, making its network the most vulnerable target to both foreign and domestic hackers, the officials said. The Pentagon estimates that China is the No. 1 source of Defense Department hacks, though Lt. Col. Mike VanPutte of the U.S. Strategic Command’s Joint Task Force for Global Network Operations said this only proves that China is the probes’ “last hop” before they strike their targets. One anonymous government official downplayed the severity of the attacks, while another said an FBI investigation has yet to yield any definitive proof of who is orchestrating the intrusions. U.S. concerns about Chinese military initiatives in general are fueling worries about China-based cyberattacks, and the spate of attacks on unclassified systems has added urgency to the Pentagon’s effort to acquire new detection software programs and better train computer security specialists, according to several officials.
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