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Chinese Hackers Invade Pennsylvania

State government forced to shut down several primary Websites

Hackers from China infiltrated the Website of the Pennsylvania state government late last week, forcing the shutdown of several of the state's key Websites.

Four state departments had security problems with their Web pages, leading to a decision to take down nearly all of the state's Internet site on Friday morning, according to the Associated Press.

Office of Administration spokeswoman Mia DeVane said there was no reason to think anyone's personal data had been compromised or that any damage occurred when a hacker "got into what we would say is a back door."

By late afternoon, nearly all of the state's site had been put back online. "It was more that we needed to take down those sites to make sure a virus couldn't spread," DeVane said.

The problems arose at pages of the departments of Labor and Industry, Education, and Military and Veterans Affairs, as well as the Pennsylvania Lottery's page. Investigators tracked the source to a domain registered in China, DeVane said.

It is not unusual for the state's computer system to be the target of hackers, but having problems at four separate branches of state government prompted the decision to take down nearly the entire system, she said.

DeVane said Pennsylvania's IT officers learned during a conference call held by the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center that four other states and one state university had been attacked in a similar manner.

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

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Kelly Jackson Higgins 2, Editor-in-Chief, Dark Reading