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[ISN] FBI Opens Probe of China-Based Hackers


By Ellen Nakashima and Colum Lynch
Washington Post Staff Writers
March 21, 2008

The FBI has opened a preliminary investigation of a report that 
China-based hackers have penetrated the e-mail accounts of leaders and 
members of the Save Darfur Coalition, a national advocacy group pushing 
to end the six-year-old conflict in Sudan.

The accounts of 10 members were hacked into between early February and 
last week, and the intruders also gained access to the group's Web 
server and viewed pages from the inside, the group said yesterday.

The intruders, said coalition spokesman M. Allyn Brooks-LaSure, "seemed 
intent on subversively monitoring, probing and disrupting coalition 
activities." He said Web site logs and e-mails showed Internet protocol 
addresses that were traced to China.

The allegation fits a near decade-old pattern of cyber-espionage and 
cyber-intimidation by the Chinese government against critics of its 
human rights practices, experts said. It comes as calls for a boycott of 
the 2008 Beijing Olympics have been mounting since China's crackdown on 
Tibetan protesters last week.

The coalition, headquartered in Washington, has been a vocal critic of 
China's support for the Sudanese government and its refusal to allow 
anyone to pressure Khartoum to end the conflict. The group has urged 
China -- Sudan's chief diplomatic sponsor, major weapons provider and 
largest foreign investor and trade partner -- to use its position as a 
member of the U.N. Security Council to bring peace to the region.

"Someone in Beijing is clearly trying to send us a message," coalition 
President Jerry Fowler said. "But they're mistaken if they think these 
attacks will end efforts to bring peace to Darfur."

A senior Chinese official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said 
the allegation is false.

Copyright 2008 The Washington Post Company

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