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Hackers got into Davos system

GENEVA, Switzerland -- Hackers managed to steal credit card numbers and other personal details from some of the global leaders attending the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos last week.

The WEF said it does not yet know who breached its computer system or how they obtained confidential information. It is treating the matter as a crime.

Those who attended this year's meeting in the Swiss resort included Microsoft founder Bill Gates, the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, South African President Thabo Mbeki and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori.

"We do take this very seriously, and we are going to be investigating this aggressively," said Charles McLean, the WEF's director of communications.

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"We at this point have no idea how this information got out. If they could have a security breach at the Pentagon and they can have a security breach at the State Department, it is possible to have a security breach at the World Economic Forum."

McLean said he found out about the problem after being contacted by the Swiss Sunday newspaper SonntagsZeitung.

The paper was approached by hackers who produced information such as credit card details, mobile phone numbers and private addresses of some of those attending the summit.

McLean said the information might have been taken from the forum's sign-up centre in the ski resort. The information in the Davos computer is kept separate from the Forum's main server at its headquarters in Geneva.

There has been speculation the hackers were connected to anti-globalisation protesters but McLean refused to comment.

The Davos conference -- an annual event -- attracts some of the most important politicians and business leaders in the world. It has also become a focus for anti-globalisation demonstrators.

Protesters were kept away from the conference this year by extremely tight security, but staged marches in some other cities, including the Swiss business and banking centre Zurich.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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