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    Reporters Without Borders said in it’s 2005 special report titled “Xinhua: the world’s biggest propaganda agency”, that “Xinhua remains the voice of the sole party”, “particularly during the SARS epidemic, Xinhua has for last few months been putting out news reports embarrassing to the government, but they are designed to fool the international community, since they are not published in Chinese.”
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China Hackers Penetrate The White House Computer Network

Posted by Author on November 10, 2008

Financial Times, UK, 7 Nov 2008-

Chinese hackers have penetrated the White House computer network on multiple occasions and obtained e-mails between government officials, a senior US official told the Financial Times.

On each occasion, the attackers accessed the White House computer system for brief periods, allowing them enough time to steal information before US computer experts patched the system.

US government cyber intelligence experts suspect the attacks were sponsored by the Chinese government because of their targeted nature. But they concede that it is extremely difficult to trace the exact source of an attack beyond a server in a particular country.

“We are getting very targeted Chinese attacks so it stretches credulity that these are not directed by government-related organisations,” said the official.

The official said the Chinese cyber attacks had the characteristics of the “grain of sands” approach taken by Chinese intelligence, which involves obtaining and pouring over lots of – often low-level – information to find a few nuggets.

Some US defence companies have privately warned about attacks on their systems that they believe are attempts to learn about future weapons systems.

The National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force, a new unit established in 2007 to tackle cyber security, detected the attacks on the White House. But the official stressed that the hackers had accessed only the unclassified computer network, not the more secure classified network.

“For a short period of time they successfully breach a wall and then you rebuild the wall . . . It is not as if they have continued access,” said the official. “It is constant cat and mouse.”

Dana Perino, the White House press secretary, declined to comment. The Chinese embassy also did not comment but in the past China has said similar allegations reflect “cold war thinking”. The US has increased efforts to tackle cyber security, particularly since Chinese hackers believed to be associated with the Peoples’ Liberation Army perpetrated an attack on the Pentagon last year.

US military computer experts battled for weeks against a sustained attack that eventually overcame the Pentagon’s defences. The attackers managed to obtain information and e-mail traffic from the unclassified computer system that supports Robert Gates, the defence secretary. Pentagon IT technicians were forced to take the network down for days to conduct repairs…….

Concerns about Chinese hacking last year prompted President George W. Bush to tell reporters ahead of a meeting with President Hu Jintao of China that he might raise the issue with countries of concern.

Over the past year the US has tightened restrictions on officials using BlackBerrys and computers overseas, particularly in Russia and China, and sometimes bars them from removing the equipment from US government aircraft in the country.

In another incident, US government cyber investigators have determined that an attack this summer on the Barack Obama and John McCain campaign computer networks also originated in China. Details of the intrusion were first reported by Newsweek.

The secret service warned the campaigns that their networks had been comprised. The hackers downloaded information in what was believed to be an attempt to learn more about the contenders’ policy positions.

According to the Newsweek report, the Obama campaign speculated that China or Russia was behind the attacks. A second US official said cyber analysts had concluded that the attacks originated in China but stressed that they were not able to determine who was responsible.

The Financial Times

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