US rejects report of hacking at French presidency

PARIS — The US Embassy in Paris ‘‘categorically’’ denied claims Wednesday in a French magazine report that the US government was behind a hacking attack against computers in the French president’s palace this year.

The French government also played down the report in ­L’Express magazine. Many countries — including France and the United States — see cyberattacks as a major threat and have sought to boost defenses against intrusions into their computer systems. An array of reported hacking attacks recently in places such as Iran and Saudi Arabia have highlighted the menace.

According to L’Express, hackers masquerading as Facebook friends of presidential palace employees duped them into giving up internal passcodes, then used them to spread a computer worm on Elysee Palace computers in May, including one used by then-President Nicolas Sarkozy’s chief-of-staff.


In a statement Wednesday, the US Embassy said the report was not based on facts and pointed to the article’s own language that said the magazine’s unidentified sources suspected the US role in part because of ‘‘a bundle of presumptions.’’

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While the United States and France are known to share intelligence, it is not uncommon for governments to try to keep tabs on their allies’ internal discussions.

The report said French experts narrowed the list of possible attackers based on the technical complexity of the intrusion.