Page last updated at 15:33 GMT, Monday, 30 March 2009 16:33 UK

China denies spying allegations

A computer keyboard (file image)
China says cyber attacks are a global challenge

China has denied involvement in the electronic spy network which researchers say infiltrated computers in government offices around the world.

The spokesman of the Chinese embassy in London said that there was no evidence to show Beijing was involved.

He suggested the findings were part of a "propaganda campaign" by the Tibetan government in exile.

The research was commissioned by the Dalai Lama's office alarmed by possible breaches of security.

'Pieced together'

In an official statement, Liu Weimin writes that the report by Canadian researchers at the Information Warfare Monitor is "just some video footage pieced together from different sources to attack China".

Mr Liu stresses that in China "it is against the law to hack into the computers of others". Cyber attacks, he says, are "a global challenge" requiring global co-operation.

"China is an active participant in such co-operation in the world."

The report said that the electronic network had infiltrated 1,295 computers in 103 countries, including computers belonging to foreign ministries and embassies.

'No conclusive evidence'

The Canadian researchers had been approached by the office of the Dalai Lama, who feared the computers of his Tibetan exile network had been infiltrated.

The researchers said that while the network was based mainly in China, there was no conclusive evidence China's government was behind the infiltration.

They said ministries of foreign affairs of Iran, Bangladesh, Latvia, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei, Barbados and Bhutan appeared to have been targeted.


The researchers said hackers were apparently able to take control of computers belonging to several foreign ministries and embassies across the world using malicious software, or malware.

"We uncovered real-time evidence of malware that had penetrated Tibetan computer systems, extracting sensitive documents from the private office of the Dalai Lama."

They said they believed the system, which they called GhostNet, was focused mainly on governments in Asia.

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