China hackers breach foreign office

China hackers breach foreign office
China hackers breach foreign office

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The Telegraph
April 9, 2008

New Delhi: The foreign ministry=E2=80=99s computer networks have been broken 
into and telltale tracks are pointing to the hand of Chinese hackers.

Government sources said the =E2=80=9Cworrisome security breaches=E2=80=9D uncovered 
during an audit last month had shown that the prime targets were systems 
of officials handling sensitive communication from Indian missions 

The hackers may already have accessed mission plans and policy-related 
exchanges, the sources cautioned.

=E2=80=9CMore than anything else, what should ring in caution is that there have 
been breaches, including of some government sites maintained by the 
National Informatics Centre, in the recent past,=E2=80=9D a source said.

A ruffled government has decided to do a fresh audit of the =E2=80=9Csecurity 
standards=E2=80=9D of Indian missions in key countries.

The check will begin at the Indian embassy in Beijing later this month 
and then move to London and the European countries.

The break-in was spotted in March by a team of Internet auditors from 
intelligence agencies that was reviewing the security of the external 
affairs ministry=E2=80=99s networks.

By a system of verification, the team discovered that the hackers=E2=80=99 
=E2=80=9CInternet protocol address=E2=80=9D and the =E2=80=9Cmedia access control address=E2=80=9D 
originated from China, the sources said.

Although the IP address can be faked, it gives a =E2=80=9Cclear idea=E2=80=9D of the 
place of its origin. The MAC address is an =E2=80=9Cauthoritative identification 
number=E2=80=9D (hardware) that helps trace the location or country of its 

The sources refused to give out more details, saying it was a 
=E2=80=9Csensitive=E2=80=9D matter.

Last year, there were reports of Chinese hackers breaking into computers 
at the Pentagon, including that of US defence secretary Robert Gates. 
There have been similar reports from London.

The Pentagon breach was reported last September by the Financial Times, 
which cited former and serving US officials as saying hackers controlled 
by China=E2=80=99s military were behind it.

China has, however, denied all the reports. =E2=80=9CSome people make groundless 
accusations against China.=E2=80=A6 China has all along been opposed to and 
forbids criminal activities undermining computer networks, including 
hacking,=E2=80=9D Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said after the 
Pentagon episode.

=E2=80=9CChina is ready to strengthen cooperation with other countries, 
including the US, in countering Internet crimes.=E2=80=9D

Copyright =C2=A9 2008 The Telegraph. All rights reserved.

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