(AFP) – Sep 10, 2007
WELLINGTON (AFP) — New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark confirmed Tuesday that foreign spies had tried to hack into government computers but said they had not found out any state secrets.
"The assurance I've been given by intelligence agencies is that no classified information has been at risk at all," Clark told reporters.
"We have very smart people to provide protection every time an attack is tried. Obviously we learn from that," she said.
"What I can stress is that absolutely no classified information has ever been penetrated by these attacks."
Clark said she knew which governments were involved, but she would not name them, adding the government had not spoken to the countries concerned about the problem.
"That's not the way intelligence matters are handled," she said.
Several governments have recently experienced attacks on their computer networks, she said.
"It's not something unique to us, it's something that every country is experiencing."
Earlier, Warren Tucker, head of the New Zealand intelligence agency, the Security Intelligence Service (SIS), said foreign governments had hacked into New Zealand government computer systems.
The Dominion Post newspaper quoted Tucker saying government departments' websites had been attacked, information stolen and hard-to-detect software had been installed which could be used to take control of computer systems.
There was evidence foreign governments were responsible for the attacks, he said, but did not name the countries concerned, although he did refer to comments by Canada's security service about Chinese spying activities.
Reports have also alleged China hacked into government computer systems in the US, Germany and Britain.
Tucker said some New Zealand government departments had not realised their computer security had been breached.
Sensitive information had been accessed and attempts had been made to gain access to classified information, he said.
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