Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Chinese Hackers Target US Commerce Department

The US BIS has been forced to overhaul its PCs by replacing hundreds of the infected systems

Chinese hackers allegedly targeted computer systems at the Bureau of Industry and Security, a specialized department within the department of commerce dealing with the export of software and technology designed for military and commercial uses. The online thieves were aiming to access computer accounts of federal employees over a span of time that ranges at least several weeks. Even though several accounts were compromised during the attacks, no sensitive data has been stolen.

The BIS reported that the attacks have been occurring since the beginning of September. The BIS has to replace hundreds of computers since they have been compromised with spyware and rootkits. Some of the attacks were traced to web servers registered by Chinese service providers.

US officials are highly concerned with Chinese hackers gaining access to sensitive data. The threat is so serious that the US government dropped the purchase of Lenovo PCs in June – there was a fear that the manufacturer would install unwanted listening devices on the machines. In July, Chinese hackers reportedly accessed State Department computers.

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