Report: Chinese hackers download White House e-mails
Published: Thursday November 6, 2008

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The White House's computer network was penetrated on several occasions earlier this year by Chinese hackers who downloaded e-mails between government officials, a new report reveals.

A senior US official tells the Financial Times that cyber-security experts believe the attacks were coordinated by the Chinese government, although there is no proof they were the result of an organized assault.

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

The National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force, a unit established in 2007 to tackle security, detected the attacks. The official stressed the hackers had accessed only the unclassified computer network, and not the more secure classified network.
Intelligence officials and cyber-security experts in the US government have become increasingly concerned with online attacks originating in China.

This spring, hackers claimed to have penetrated the Pentagon's network and warned they could access any site.

Earlier: 'Foreign entity' staged cyber attack on both campaigns

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The computer systems of US presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain were targeted by hackers this summer from an unknown "foreign entity," Newsweek magazine reported on Thursday.

Newsweek said a federal investigation was opened after the campaigns were "victims of a sophisticated cyber attack."

"FBI and White House officials told the Obama campaign that they believed that a foreign entity or organization sought to gather information on the evolution of both camps' policy issues -- information that might be useful in negotiations with a future administration," Newsweek said.

"Obama technical experts later speculated that the hackers were Russian or Chinese," the magazine said, adding that the FBI had assured the Obama team that the attack had not been carried out by its political opponents.

Newsweek said technology experts at the Obama headquarters discovered the cyber attack in midsummer and initially thought it was a computer virus.

But the FBI and Secret Service warned them the system had been compromised and a "serious amount of files" had been stolen. They said the McCain campaign's computer system had been similarly compromised.

Newsweek said the Obama campaign retained a security firm following the attack and ended the intrusion.

Obama defeated McCain in Tuesday's election and is to be sworn in as president on January 20, 2009.