PARIS Hackers attacked the website of a French magazine this month, attempting to sway an opinion poll on the Beijing Olympics and change the site's content, its publisher said on Wednesday.
Jean-Joel Gurviez said the website of business magazine Capital was first hit in March, when it opened a poll on whether France should boycott the Games' opening ceremony in China.
"On the first day, we had about 300 responses, which was normal for this type of poll, and they were 80 percent in favour of a boycott. The next day there were 20,000 responses, with 80 percent opposing a boycott," he said.
Almost all of the responses arrived via Chinese servers, Gurviez said, leading technicians to initially think the influx was driven by Chinese sites directing patriotic fans to vote.
"But a few days later we had hackers operating off servers in China try to change our content, and there were 2.5 million attempts to access protected files. We had to shut down the site temporarily," he said.
Internet users in China have flooded the Web with patriotic commentary in the run-up to the August games, and criticized France for not properly protecting the Paris leg of the Olympic torch relay from human rights protesters.
Many have rallied around images of a 27-year-old Chinese Paralympics fencer, dubbed "the angel in a wheelchair" for her determined defense of the torch from protesters in France.
Guerviez said the magazine had no direct proof Chinese hackers had directed the attacks, but it has filed a complaint with the police.
"The attacks came after the torch protests, many were attempts to post pro-Chinese slogans, and all came from computers in China, so I think it's pretty clear, he said.
(Reporting by Brian Rohan; Editing by Stephen Weeks)