Friday, June 20, 2008

When Global means unpunished

They're in our computers, reading our files. The Chinese government, that is, according to two U.S. Congressmen who recently accused Beijing of sending hackers to ferret out secret documents stored on Congressional computers. The Chinese deny any involvement, but if they were lying, would we be able to prove it?

The answer, according to computer and security experts, is probably not.

At least, not conclusively enough for a court of law.

"It's very difficult to track hacker attacks and, even if you can track it, you don't always know with 100 percent certainty if you're right," said James Lewis, director and senior fellow of the Technology and Public Policy Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

That was the problem faced by the investigators who attempted to figure out who broke into computers used by the staff of Rep. Christopher H. Smith, R-N.J., and Rep. Frank R. Wolf, R-Va. The Congressmen announced on June 11 that they'd been the targets of several attacks, beginning in 2006.

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