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LONDON: Chinese hackers have tried to penetrate computers in the offices of national security adviser MK Narayanan, a British paper on Monday quoted him as saying.

Narayanan said his office and other government departments were targeted on Dec 15, the same date that US defence, finance and technology companies, including Google, reported cyber attacks from China.

“This was not the first instance of an attempt to hack into our computers,” Narayanan told The Times in an interview, adding the would-be hackers sent an e-mail with a PDF attachment containing a Trojan virus.

The virus, which allows hackers to download or delete files, was detected and officials were told not to log on until it was eliminated, Narayanan said.

“People seem to be fairly sure it was the Chinese. It is difficult to find the exact source but this is the main suspicion. It seems well founded,” he told The Times, adding that India was cooperating with the US and Britain to bolster its cyber defences.

The Chinese government has denied any role in the attacks, with a foreign ministry spokeswoman saying: “Hacking in whatever form is prohibited by law in China.”

Narayanan said that while he expected China to be an increasingly high security priority for India, the main threat still came from militants based in Pakistan.

He said Islamabad had done nothing to dismantle militant groups since the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, and criticised Britain for accepting its excuse that such groups were beyond its control.

“The British are still blinkered on this. We believe Pakistan’s policy of using terror as a policy weapon remains,” Narayanan said, adding India is anxious to prevent an attack from Pakistan during the Commonwealth Games in October.

“From Pakistan’s point of view, it’s important to disrupt the Games so you can claim that India is not a safe place,” Narayanan said.


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