WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has asked Beijing to investigate Google’s latest allegation of a major hacking attack that the Internet giant says originated in China, the State Department said on Friday.
“We did raise our concerns with the Chinese about the allegations and asked them to take a look into them,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters.
Toner declined to provide details on what was conveyed to the Chinese, or whether the U.S. government believes Beijing may have had a hand in the alleged hacking attack.
He said investigations of the case prevent him from saying more about Google’s allegations.
“We take them seriously and expressed that concern to the Chinese,” Toner said.
Google said this week it had detected and disrupted a campaign aimed at stealing passwords of hundreds of Google email account holders including senior U.S. government officials, Chinese activists, and journalists.
Toner repeated that the State Department had no evidence its employees had been targeted in the case, which the Federal Bureau of Investigation is examining along with Google.
Neither Google nor the U.S. government has said that China was behind the attacks, which the Internet company merely said appeared to originate in China.
But the incident looks likely to fuel tensions between the United States and China over cybersecurity and espionage, areas that are considered potential flashpoints.
China, for its part, has denied any role and called Google’s allegations unacceptable.
Beijing, often blamed for cyber attacks that have a murky provenance, says it is being unfairly accused by countries that are simply unhappy with China’s swift economic, military and geopolitical rise.
Editing by Doina Chiacu