BY JIM DOOLEY – Someone hacked into computers at the East West Center late last month, compromising personal information of some 50 people, and the center is now in the processing of formally notifying those affected by the invasion, said Karen Knudsen, center spokeswoman.

Not all computers at the center were compromised, but the cyber attack was “unusually sophisticated,” and is being investigated both internally at the center and by law enforcement, Knudsen acknowledged.

FBI Special Agent Tom Simon said the cyber crime unit of the FBI office here was”aware of the situation” at the East West Center but declined further comment.

The timing of the attack has raised suspicions that it may have been related to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation conference held here last week, in which the federally-funded East West Center was heavily involved.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered a major policy speech on the grounds of the East West Center during APEC. It was her third visit to the facility since taking office in the Obama administration.

Knudsen said there is no direct indication that the hacking was APEC-related.

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Jim Dooley joined the Hawaii Reporter staff as an investigative reporter in October 2010. Before that, he has worked as a print and television reporter in Hawaii since 1973, beginning as a wire service reporter with United Press International. He joined Honolulu Advertiser in 1974, working as general assignment and City Hall reporter until 1978. In 1978, he moved to full-time investigative reporting in for The Advertiser; he joined KITV news in 1996 as investigative reporter. Jim returned to Advertiser 2001, working as investigative reporter and court reporter until 2010. Reach him at Jim@hawaiireporter.com