By Dan Goodin in San Francisco
11th June 2008
Lawmakes are urging everyone on Capitol Hill to have their computers
checked for malware after discovering that people working from inside
China hacked into multiple congressional machines and accessed locations
of Chinese dissidents and other sensitive data.
Virginia Representative Frank Wolf said four of his PCs were
compromised, beginning in August 2006. New Jersey Representative Chris
Smith, said two of his machines were hacked in December 2006 and March
2007. Both congressmen, who are long-time critics of China's record on
human rights, said the PCs of other lawmakers had also been breached but
declined to give names.
Following the attacks on Wolf's computers, a car with license plates
belonging to Chinese officials went to the home of a dissident near
Washington and photographed it. The congressman said FBI investigators
who looked into the breach traced the attacks to machines located in
China. He said he's known about the attacks for a long time but that he
had been discouraged from discussing them by people in the US government
he declined to identify.
"The problem has been that no one wants to talk about this issue," he
said . "Every time I've started to do something I've been told 'You
can't do this.' A lot of people have made it very, very difficult."
Wolf suggested members of the Senate have also been victims of computer
intrusion. He called for better education for members of Congress about
the dangers of cyber attacks and urged members to have their machines
checked. He said he was introducing a resolution that would tighten
security of House computers and information systems. In the Senate,
Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois asked the sergeant at arms to
investigate whether Senate computers have been breached.
Smith said the attacks on his machines were "were very much an
orchestrated effort." His office no longer stores the names of Chinese
dissidents on computers, he said.
Attend Black Hat USA, August 2-7 in Las Vegas,
the world's premier technical event for ICT security experts.
Featuring 40 hands-on training courses and 80 Briefings
presentations with lots of new content and new tools.
Network with 4,000 delegates from 50 nations.
Visit product displays by 30 top sponsors in
a relaxed setting. http://www.blackhat.com