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Monday, 30 April, 2001, 21:54 GMT 22:54 UK
US under Chinese hack attack
Hacking graphic
Computer enthusiasts plan a week-long campaign
By the BBC's Mark Gregory

Hackers based in China have begun a co-ordinated offensive against computer networks in the United States.

The hacker attacks are intended as retaliation for the death of a Chinese pilot in the recent incident involving an American spyplane.

Computer keyboard
The hackers may e-mail computer viruses
It is unclear exactly who is behind the hacker attacks or how much of a threat they pose to computer networks run by big US companies and government agencies.

The FBI has issued a warning to network operators telling them to expect disruption.

Media reports say sites run by the US labour and health departments have already been broken into and altered.

It is reported that in each case tributes to Chinese pilot killed in the spy plane collision have appeared.

Tension

That incident greatly increased political tensions between the US and China, but there is no evidence linking the government in Beijing to the hacker offensive.

A report in a Chinese newspaper claims that a week-long campaign is planned by a group of Chinese computer enthusiasts, known as the Honkers Union of China, starting from Monday.

The newspaper report says the group is led by a leader known as "lion". It was set up within the last two years.

Meanwhile, newsgency reports suggest that another shadowy hackers' group called the Chinese Red Guest Network Security Technology Alliance is also involved.

Their methods are likely to include attempts to overload US computer systems with meaningless data, tampering with websites and e-mailing computer viruses to American government employees.

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See also:

28 Apr 01 | Americas
US fears Chinese hack attack
25 Oct 98 | Monitoring
War of words on the Internet
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