Congressmen allege China-based PC hackings

June 11, 2008
Updated Thursday, June 12 at 4:48 p.m. EST

Two lawmakers said on Wednesday that their office computers were infiltrated by hackers operating out of China.

U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., said in a statement that four of his Capitol Hill machines were compromised in August 2006.

He introduced a resolution on Wednesday calling for greater security measures for Congressional computers and other mobile devices.

"Members need to know how best to protect themselves, their staff and their official business from these threats," Wolf said. "I have experienced this threat firsthand, as have others in Congress, and am deeply worried that this institution is not adequately protected."

Rep. Christopher Smith, R-N.J., who appeared with Wolf at a press conference on Wednesday, said hackers from China took over his computers as well. Both men have been outspoken critics of China human rights policies.

"While this has not been confirmed to me, my own suspicion is I was targeted by China because of my long history of speaking out about China's abysmal human rights record," he said.

The spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, in his regular press conference, said there was no evidence linking China to the attacks, according to published reports. He pointed to the possibility that the attackers spoofed their IP addresses to make it appear as if they were operating out of the Asian nation.

Wolf said he was advised by authorities not to reveal this incident but decided otherwise.

"But our adversaries already know we are vulnerable," he said. "Pretending that we are not vulnerable is a mistake."

An FBI spokesman declined to comment to SCMagazineUS.com.

"We're not going to touch that one," he said.

This incident is another in what is amounting to a growing number of security events being blamed on China. Most recently, U.S. officials said earlier this month that they were investigating whether a government laptop used by Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez was breached during a visit last year to Bejing.
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