Pro-China hackers invaded two US government websites over the weekend, forcing the department of labor and the department of health and human services to shut down their sites temporarily, the New York Times reported Sunday.
The break-ins came one day after Chinese media warned that Chinese hackers were planning massive attacks on US sites.
They were seen as part of an escalating "cyberwar" following the mid-air collision between a US spy plane and a Chinese fighter jet off the southern coast of China on April 1.
That war has also seen hackers posting pro-US sentiments on Chinese sites, the New York Times said.
The Department of Labor went offline for a few hours Saturday after a page on its website was altered to display a picture of Wang Wei, the Chinese pilot who died in the collision.
The page was titled "China hack!" and read, in English, "The whole country is sorry for losing the best son of China - Wang Wei forever, we will miss you until the end of the day," -- according to a photograph of the website provided by the Times.
Preliminary investigations showed that the hackers did not gain access to the department's security systems designed to prevent the loss of information, a Labor Department official was quoted as saying.
Websites run by the US Department of Health and Human Services were also altered with what appeared to be pro-China statements, the report said.
In a statement Thursday, the FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center warned of "the potential for increased hacker activity directed at US systems during the period of April 30, 2001 to May 7, 2001."
The agency said some actions may be linked to particular dates of historical significance: "May 1 is May Day; May 4 is Youth Day; and, May 7 is the anniversary of the accidental bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade."
Following the NATO bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in May 1999, Chinese hackers attacked many websites in the United States, with one large attack leaving the White House website paralyzed for three days.
(China Daily 04/30/2001)