China's military successfully hacked into the Pentagon's computer network, raising fears it could disrupt the US defence department's systems, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.
The Chinese military's cyber attack was carried out in June following months of efforts, the London-based newspaper said, citing unnamed current and former US officials.
While the Pentagon declined to say who was behind the hacking, which led to the shutdown of a computer system serving the office of Defence Secretary Robert Gates, officials told the paper it was China's People's Liberation Army.
"The PLA has demonstrated the ability to conduct attacks that disable our system," the paper quoted a former US official as saying.
One senior US official reportedly said the Pentagon had pinpointed the exact origin of the attack.
The paper quoted another person familiar with the event as saying there was a "very high level of confidence... trending towards total certainty" that the PLA was responsible.
The paper said both the US and Chinese militaries were widely assumed to conduct computer espionage on each other.
"But US officials said the penetration in June raised concerns to a new level because of fears that China had shown it could disrupt systems at critical times," the Financial Times reported.
A spokesman for the Chinese defence ministry declined to comment on the report when contacted by AFP on Tuesday.
China's foreign ministry also declined to comment immediately, asking for questions to be faxed through.
Reports of China hacking into German government systems were also raised last week between Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
German weekly Der Spiegel reported that espionage programmes traced to the PLA had been detected in computer systems at Merkel's office, the foreign ministry and other government agencies in Berlin.
"We in the government took (the reports) as a matter of grave concern," Wen said after meeting Merkel.
Last Mod: 04 Eylül 2007, 14:37