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Sunday, 4 February, 2001, 15:17 GMT
Hackers steal Davos data
Davos mountains
The scene of the crime?
Computer hackers managed to steal personal information about the rich and powerful from the organisers of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in the Swiss resort of Davos, the WEF admitted on Sunday.

The hackers approached a Swiss newspaper, Sonntagszeitung, with data including mobile phone numbers, credit card numbers and home addresses of such figures as Bill Gates of Microsoft and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Microsoft magnate Bill Gates
The hackers seem to have got Bill Gates ...
The paper's own research found that the details were accurate.

The WEF confirmed that its computer security had apparently been breached during its annual gathering, which ended on 30 January, and that it was treating the matter as a crime.

"We do take this very seriously, and we are going to be investigating this aggressively", WEF communications director Charles McLean told Reuters news agency.

Possible anti-globalisation link

He refused to speculate as to whether the hackers might be anti-globalisation protesters.

Activists targeted the forum - which brings together over 1,000 leading business and political figures each year - but were mostly kept out of the Swiss resort town by a heavy police presence.

Former US President Bill Clinton
... and maybe former president Bill Clinton too
They staged a counter-event, the World Social Forum, in Brazil during the Davos meeting.

Mr McLean said the hackers might have broken into the computers at the forum's registration centre in Davos.

But it is not clear exactly what list the hackers have. At least one report said that Bill Clinton was on the hackers' list, but he was not at Davos this year.

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