Chinese hacked Obama, McCain campaigns, say US officials

London, June 7 (ANI): Cyber attacks reportedly carried out by the Chinese will be at the top of the US agenda when President Obama meets with Chinese president Xi Jinping on Friday in California.

According to US intelligence officials, the US had secretly traced a massive cyber espionage operation against the 2008 presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and John McCain to hacking units backed by the People's Republic of China, prompting high level warnings to Chinese officials to stop such activities, reports the Huffington Post.

Chinese officials deny any role in the cyberattacks, but US experts say the 2008 attack was a "wake up call".

The disclosure on the eve of a two-day summit between the US and Chinese presidents highlights what has become a persistent source of tension between the two global powers: Beijing's aggressive, orchestrated campaign to pierce America's national security armor at any weak point - in this case the computers and laptops of top campaign aides and advisers who received high-level briefings, the report said.

The goal of the campaign intrusion, according to the officials: to export massive amounts of internal data from both campaigns-including internal position papers and private emails of key advisers in both camps.

The intrusion into the campaigns' computer networks and subsequent efforts to penetrate them were highly sophisticated and continued for months after they were first detected by the FBI in the summer of 2008, according to the officials.

The intrusions and some details of what was targeted have been previously reported, but not publicly attributed to government-backed Chinese hackers.

Obama publicly referred to the attacks, in general terms, at a May 29, 2009, White House event announcing a new cybersecurity policy. But neither the president nor his top aides publicly spoke about the identity of the hackers, or the depth and gravity of the attack.

Officials and former campaign officials now acknowledge that the security breach was far more serious than has been publicly known, involving the potential compromise of a large number of internal files. (ANI)


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