China's Premier 'Gravely Concerned' by Hack on Germany

Top-ranked officials discuss alleged cyber attack at diplomatic meeting

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao is "gravely concerned" by allegations that hackers in his country have attacked German government systems, according to a report from the two countries' diplomatic meeting earlier today.

Late last week, just a few days before a landmark meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Jiabao, the German magazine Der Spiegel reported that government officials had discovered attempts to steal data from computers in the German Chancellery and its Foreign, Economics, and Research ministries.

Data from German government systems was being downloaded almost daily in May by hackers in Lanzhou, in the province of Canton, and in Beijing, according to the magazine report. The large scale of the attacks suggests that it might have been committed by a military agency such as China's People's Liberation Army, the report says. There have been numerous reports recently suggesting that China was building up its cyber attack capability. (See China to Use Computer Viruses as Cyberwarfare First Strike.)

Chinese authorities vehemently denied the allegations upon publication. But in remarks at a joint press conference earlier today, Jiabao said he is "gravely concerned" about the report, and that his country will work with German officials to resolve the matter.

Neither of the two governments gave details on the nature of the hack. One report indicated that the theft was attempted via spyware; another reported an infection by a Trojan.

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