Hackers mar Merkel's visit to China

Aug. 29, 2007 at 2:47 PM
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BEIJING, Aug. 29 (UPI) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to China has been marred by a report that Chinese hackers with military ties hacked into German government computers.

Chinese hackers managed to place several spy programs on computers in Merkel’s chancellery, the Foreign Ministry and three other government departments, German news magazine Der Spiegel said in its latest issue, which hit the news stands Monday. German intelligence officials believe the hackers have links to China's People's Liberation Army, Der Spiegel said.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao vowed to do everything to stop the hacking.

"We in the government took (the report) as a matter of grave concern," Wen said after a one-hour meeting with Merkel in Beijing. "Hackers breaking into and sabotaging computers is a problem faced by the entire world."

The hacking targeted mainly political and economic data and originated in several Chinese cities, including Beijing. Some 60 percent of all hacking attacks come from China, an intelligence official told Der Spiegel.

Officials said they were able to prevent some 160 gigabytes worth of data falling into Chinese hands, but observers doubt that the hacking could have been entirely prevented.

Merkel, who leads Europe’s largest economy, also discussed product piracy, product quality standards and climate change with her Chinese counterpart.

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