France falls prey to China cyberattacks


PARIS — French information systems fell prey to cyber attacks “involving China,” similar to those reported by the U.S., British and German governments, a top French security official told AFP on Saturday.

“We have indications that our information systems were the object of attacks, like in the other countries,” the Secretary-General of National Defense (SGDN) Francis Delon said, confirming a report published in French newspaper Le Monde.

“We have proof that there is involvement with China. But I am prudent. When I say China, this does not mean the Chinese government. We don’t have any indication now that it was done by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army,” he added.

Asked which computer systems had been hacked, Delon said they “concerned the services of the (French) state.”

A source close to the issue said the French defense ministry’s public Internet site was targeted, but that it contained no confidential information. The attack was made by cyber saboteurs to “test information technology defenses.”

China vehemently denied that its army was involved in international computer espionage on Thursday after newspaper reports that the British government had sustained cyber attacks from the Chinese.

“Saying that the Chinese military has made cyber attacks on the networks of foreign governments is groundless and irresponsible and are a result of ulterior motives,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said. The Times and The Independent newspapers in London said that Chinese computer hackers had infiltrated British government networks.