Category: Politics / January 31, 2013 10:53 AM EST
China said accusations made by the New York Times that Chinese hackers had persistently attacked its computers over the past four months since the paper published a story on Premier Wen Jiabao, were "irresponsible".
The New York Times said the attacks coincided with its report last October that Wen's family had accumulated at least $2.7 billion in "hidden riches". China said at the time the report smeared its name and had ulterior motives.
"According to some investigative results, which showed no proof, and had groundless evidence and baseless conclusion, China had participated in online attacks. That is a totally irresponsible conclusion. China is also a victim of online attacks. China's laws clearly ban online attacks," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a regular news conference in Beijing.
Security experts found evidence that the hackers stole the corporate passwords for every Times employee and used those to gain access to the personal computers of 53 employees, most of them outside The Times' newsroom, the paper said.
The hackers also broke into the e-mail accounts of Shanghai bureau chief, David Barboza, who wrote the story on Wen's family, and Jim Yardley, the paper's South Asia bureau chief in India who was previously the Beijing bureau chief, it added.
The Chinese government has repeatedly said it opposes hacking and that China too suffers frequently from these kinds of attacks.