WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States believes that Chinese authorities orchestrated a hacking campaign into computers of Google and Western governments, according to leaked documents cited Sunday by The New York Times.
The secret cables obtained by whistleblower site WikiLeaks said that China's Politburo directed the hacking. It cited a cable from the US embassy in Beijing, which mentioned information from "a Chinese contact."
"The Google hacking was part of a coordinated campaign of computer sabotage carried out by government operatives, private security experts and Internet outlaws recruited by the Chinese government," the Times said, citing the cable.
Chinese operatives are also believed to have broken into computers of US and Western allies along with those of Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, it said.
Google announced in March that it would no longer follow the communist government's instructions to filter searches for sensitive material after what it said were coordinated cyberattacks against the Internet company.
The hacking included infiltration of the Gmail accounts of Chinese dissidents.
Hacking campaigns originating from China have been reported before, including in a recent study by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission.
But US officials have stopped short of publicly accusing Beijing of cyber warfare, saying that the hacking could be the work of Chinese not linked to authorities.
WikiLeaks on Sunday unleashed a torrent of sensitive US cables, despite pleas from US officials that the release would jeopardize diplomatic efforts.