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US authorities are probing allegations that Indian spies were helped by Apple, RIM and Nokia to hack into a US commission on cybersecurity and bilateral trade with China.
US authorities, likely the Federal Bureau of Investigation, are investigating allegations that Indian spies and Western telecoms firms hacked into a US commission on relations with China and cyber security, Reuters reported today.
The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a body created by US lawmakers to monitor and investigate bilateral trade and US national security, called for the investigation after hackers posted to the Internet what appeared to be an Indian military intelligence document discussing plans to hack into the the commission using technical expertise provided by companies such as Apple, Research in Motion, the maker of Blackberry devices, and Nokia.
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Reuters said an unnamed US official had confirmed the existence of an investigation while the FBI declined to comment. It is standard procedure for US federal agencies neither to confirm nor to deny the existence of investigations.
"We are aware of these reports and have contacted relevant authorities to investigate the matter. We are unable to make further comments at this time," Jonathan Weston, a spokesman for the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, was quoted as saying Monday by Reuters.
Reuters said Indian officials were not immediately available but that the purported document claimed that the three telecoms firms had agreed to assist the Indian government's hacking efforts "in exchange for Indian market presence." A spokeswoman for Apple denied this while a Nokia spokesman declined to comment and RIM could not be reached.
China has frequently been blamed for attacks on US institutions. The Indian government has long feared hostile foreign policies on the part of China, which is shoring up relations with neighboring countries such as Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
According to the website computerworld, the incriminating documents were first posted by an Indian hacker collective known as The Lords of Dharmaraja.