Chinese hackers have "persistently" attacked the The New York Times' computers during the past four months in apparent retaliation for reporting on the personal finances of China's prime minister, the newspaper said Thursday.

The Times said the cyber attacks began in October after the paper published a story claiming that Premier Wen Jiabao's family had around $2.7 billion in "hidden riches."

While the hackers penetrated the daily's computer system and obtained some passwords, they did not gain access to any sensitive information, The Times said.

"Security experts hired by The Times to detect and block the computer attacks gathered digital evidence that Chinese hackers, using methods that some consultants have associated with the Chinese military in the past, breached The Times' network," the newspaper said.

The Chinese government reacted angrily to the Oct. 26 story about Wen's finances, blocking The Times' Web site and declining to invite the paper to the official presentation of Xi Jinping as the new leader of the ruling Communist Party.

Last month, Beijing refused to renew the visa of Times reporter Chris Buckley, though the Chinese government insisted that the journalist was not being expelled. EFE