Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Hacker-War Games?

Nothing to see here. Move along. China is our friend.

The State Department is recovering from large-scale computer break-ins worldwide over the past several weeks that appeared to target its headquarters and offices dealing with China and North Korea, The Associated Press has learned.

Investigators believe hackers stole sensitive U.S. information and passwords and implanted backdoors in unclassified government computers to allow them to return at will, said U.S. officials familiar with the hacking.

Tracing the origin of such break-ins is difficult. But employees told AP the hackers appeared to hit computers especially hard at headquarters and inside the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, which coordinates diplomacy in countries including China, the Koreas and Japan. In the tense weeks preceding North Korea's missile tests, that bureau lost its Internet connectivity for several days.

China's government was considered by experts a chief suspect in computer break-ins at the Defense Department and other U.S. agencies disclosed last summer. But China also is home to a large number of insecure computers and networks that hackers in other countries could use to disguise their locations and launch attacks.

The Pentagon warned earlier this year that China's army is emphasizing hacking as an offensive weapon.

State also took out SSL.

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