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Chinese President Hu Jintao is shown here reading an issue of state run newspaper People's Daily. The paper blasted Google in a Monday editorial, for calling out China on hacking.  (Source: People's Daily)

Google has endured an abusive relationship with the Asian giant, weathering constant attacks and thefts of its source code.  (Source: Josh Chin/WSJ)
Company claims Gmail attacks came from China; nation says "yea right"

Last week, Google Inc. (GOOG) had to scramble to deflect a concerted effort to steal hundreds of user passwords from its popular email service Gmail.  The company says the concerted phishing attack specifically targeted a cadre of high ranking targets -- "senior U.S. government officials, Chinese political activists, officials in several Asian countries, military personnel and journalists" -- much like a separate March attack which Google detected.  Google traced the attacks to IPs in the city of Jinan, the capital of China's eastern Shandong province and home to the headquarters of the intelligence unit of the People's Liberation Army.

On Monday a Chinese state-run newspaper, People's Daily, blasted Google (Chinese) for claiming the attacks traced back to its nation.  The newspaper billed Google a "political tool" used by the West to vilify the Asian giant.  It said that Google's statements could damage its position in China.

The threats are serious as People's Daily is the largest overseas newspaper of the Communist Party regime in China, and acts as somewhat of a government mouthpiece.  The newspaper accused Google of "deliberately pandering to negative Western perceptions of China, and strongly hinting that the hacking attacks were the work of the Chinese government."

The attacks article follows an official denial from officials at the Chinese Foreign Ministry, who claimed the attacks did not originate from China.

The article contained plenty of other juicy attacks on Google.

"Google's accusations aimed at China are spurious, have ulterior motives, and bear malign intentions," it read.

"Google should not become overly embroiled in international political struggle, playing the role of a tool for political contention.  For when the international winds shift direction, it may become sacrificed to politics and will be spurned by the marketplace."

The government-run newspaper didn't elaborate what steps would be taken to "spurn" Google from the market place.

The Chinese government is reportedly still paranoid that the "contagion" of rebellion in the Middle East could infect its populous.  The nation has blocked Facebook and Twitter to try to choke the flow of unregulated information.  The group has also imprisoned several individuals including famed modern artist Ai Weiwei.  These recent behaviors have drawn international condemnation from the U.S. and others.

The U.S. government's largest military contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) was recently the victim of a major cyber attack that some sources close to the case say is believed to have initiated from China.  The attack was a sophisticated one, which Lockheed Martin just confirmed was enabled by information stolen from famed security firm RSA.

Tensions between the U.S. government and China have been running high on a number of issues, including censorship, rare earth metal trade, and contract bids.

For Google, these latest developments must feel like the latest chapter in a long and abusive relationship.  The company had its source code stolen from attackers traced to Chinese IPs.  After finding little sympathy from the Chinese government, the company uncensored its search engine, only to be banned from China.  Google eventually agreed to re-censor its search to avoid missing out on the lucrative market and has since been relicensed, though much tension remain.



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It's long past time...
By swampthing1117 on 6/6/2011 10:22:28 AM , Rating: 5
Where companies just say screw china. Stop worrying about the lost profits there and just tell them to piss off. I can't imagine doing business there is an enjoyable experience. It's also high time we have a tariff on all chinese goods. They purposely keep everything in their favor and ship all their low priced crap over here to finance their countries economy at the expense of everyone else. time to put an end to that and smack their goods with a nice hefty tariff so we can finally stop financing china.




RE: It's long past time...
By Wiggy Mcshades on 6/6/2011 10:53:31 AM , Rating: 1
Economics book, buy one.


RE: It's long past time...
By smackababy on 6/6/2011 11:05:01 AM , Rating: 2
I read that a lot of companies are switching from manufacturing in China to other undeveloped countries like Vietnam. As China has developed, it is becoming increasingly expensive to manufacture there and the government is intrusive.


RE: It's long past time...
By vision33r on 6/6/2011 11:27:37 AM , Rating: 2
Once those smaller countries take off, where would you offshore manufacturing to?

In the last 20 years, we've grown faster than the previous 40 years.


RE: It's long past time...
By ClownPuncher on 6/6/2011 12:51:59 PM , Rating: 3
Poorer African nations. Once we run out of places to offshore to, we will be able to manufacture in the US again.

... in 60 years


By karndog on 6/6/2011 11:37:53 AM , Rating: 2
I've said it before and i'll say it again...Time to cut China off from the World Wide Web. They (their Government) constantly abuse the privilege by trying (and sometimes succeding) to steal high value, defense secrets instead of paying for R&D, and try to hack western Governments and public company's.

This would have a two pronged beneficial effect. They couldn't hack and steal from the comfort of they're own country, and would have to use a proxy like North Korea, and two, would probably cause a people's revolution after a billion disgruntled Chinese have suddenly been denied access to their favorite pastime.

Has Google or Obama got the balls? Probably not..




By FaceMaster on 6/6/2011 12:33:19 PM , Rating: 2
World War 3: China vs Google. Who'd have thought it?


By cooperaaaron on 6/6/2011 12:36:08 PM , Rating: 2
President Obama or Google does NOT control the Internet or are able to "cut" anyone off...


By karndog on 6/6/2011 1:35:26 PM , Rating: 1
Obviously Google can't control who can and can't access the entire Internet, but they can determine who can and can't access their website, (or any subsidiary) and they are a heavyweight in the cyberworld.

The USA invented the Internet, do you really think they can't control who can (officially or UNofficially) access the Net?


Like the U.S. has room to talk....
By strapmonkey on 6/6/2011 3:52:59 PM , Rating: 2
LOVE how the U.S. is so quick to condemn China for imprisoning some segment of its population. Really? We are typing, after all, about THE most incarcerated nation in the world ("land of the free" my ass). Latest estimates are 7 million Americans currently under state supervision, the vast majority for non-violent offenses in reference to "life style" legislation that is an artifact of its own being. Of all the "free" nations of the world, the U.S. is the last one that should be pointing fingers at any other nation for these sorts of shenanigans.

Recall Obama going on the tube and admonishing the Middle Eastern protesters for their "unlawful" behavior. Like any other action would've precipitated the sorts of (ostensible) reforms in those nations where the outcome has been a changing of the guard (again, ostensibly). The U.S. is miffed for two reasons, in that regard: 1) Because, in most instances, the protesters in those countries were rebelling against U.S. backed despots and 2) Because the U.S. government is getting mighty bunched as it occurs to them they're not far from facing that sort of social upheaval here at home. That's assuming we Americans can be bothered to put down the remote and Doritos long enough to critically assess the monumental social crimes perpetrated on the rank and file by the top 1%'ers here at home.

Let me just head off all the jack-booted fan bois tempted to rise to this post. Assertions of "love it or leave it" don't make you a patriot. The ability to appreciate the situation for what it is, the willingness to speak your mind about the subject, acceptance of the inalienable rights of free speech, free expression and self-determination and the fortitude to defend those rights in the face of an Orwellian fascist machine, no matter the personal cost, all make for true patriotism. Not that you'd know it if it bit you in the ass.




RE: Like the U.S. has room to talk....
By Chaser on 6/6/2011 4:30:30 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Let me just head off all the jack-booted fan bois tempted to rise to this post. Assertions of "love it or leave it" don't make you a patriot.
Or the willingness to defend those freedoms regardless of circling black helicopters, birthers, truthers, and other popular conspiracy theories.


By strapmonkey on 6/7/2011 1:08:52 PM , Rating: 1
Those aren't real helicopters, buddy, those....live inside you. The voices coming to you through your electric razor, however, those are real. Be sure to do what they tell you.


Denial with no credibility
By jnemesh on 6/6/2011 12:46:48 PM , Rating: 2
Seriously, does anyone really believe the Chinese Politburo anymore? They rant, rail against the world, and expect everyone to believe them...sure, they are innocent...and Bin Laden was never in Pakistan either!

Its well known that the Chinese government is behind recent cyber attacks on Google and other western targets. Its a simple matter of internet forensics...we can SEE where these attacks are coming from, and when it comes from a PLA Military Academy, well, draw your own conclusions!

The West really needs to re-evaluate its relationship with such a country run by barbarians such as these. If they insist on maintaining power at the expense of human rights and freedoms, WE as consumers, have a duty to NOT BUY THEIR CRAP!

I urge everyone here to join me in boycotting the goods and services of the People's Republic of China. Any money we send their way is going to be used against us at some point. For proof, just look at the Chinese newest military toys. Advanced stealth fighters, anti-aircraft carrier ballistic missiles, and anti-satellite weaponry. Can there be ANY doubt that their military is gearing up for a WAR with the US? And the funny part is that us DUMB AMERICANS are funding it! So do your part, and quit funding Communist governments bent on world conquest!




By PaterPelligrino on 6/8/2011 1:49:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Seriously, does anyone really believe the Chinese Politburo anymore? They rant, rail against the world, and expect everyone to believe them...sure, they are innocent...and Bin Laden was never in Pakistan either!


So because Bin Laden was in Pakistan contrary to the protestations of the Pakistani gov't, the Chinese are liars? You ever considered a job in talk radio?

quote:
I urge everyone here to join me in boycotting the goods and services of the People's Republic of China.


You mean the goods of all those non-Chinese companies who manufacture their products in China so as to minimize labor costs? Is there anything these days that isn't made in China? But I'm with you on this, let's bring those manufacturing jobs back home. Until Homo Sap transcends the tribal and embraces his 'all men are brothers' side, best to make our own stuff. But then maybe internationalizing production is an effective disincentive to war. Life is complicated.

quote:
Any money we send their way is going to be used against us at some point. For proof, just look at the Chinese newest military toys. Advanced stealth fighters, anti-aircraft carrier ballistic missiles, and anti-satellite weaponry. Can there be ANY doubt that their military is gearing up for a WAR with the US? And the funny part is that us DUMB AMERICANS are funding it!


Of course China's military is gearing up for war with their most likely military adversaries, that's the job of every country's military. Isn't that what our military does?

quote:
So do your part, and quit funding Communist governments bent on world conquest!


"It's just a jump to the left
And then a step to the right
With your hands on your hips
You bring your knees in tight
But it's the pelvic thrust that really drives you insane,
Let's do the Time Warp again!"

The Communist dictatorship bent on world conquest stuff is just rabble-rousing nonsense designed to stir up just those same "DUMB AMERICANS" you rail against, the ideological equivalent of the Saddam Hussein taking down the Twin Towers story used to sell us the trillion-dollar Iraqi war. Nobody in his right mind thinks world conquest either possible or desirable.

Whatever else the Chinese gov't may be, Communist it's not. In any case, China's external political policies haven't changed in 2000 years.


By PaterPelligrino on 6/6/2011 5:19:32 PM , Rating: 2
China didn't threaten Google "for Speaking Out Against Cyberattacks", it threatened Google for "strongly hinting that the hacking attacks were the work of the Chinese government." Those two statements are not synonymous.




By pugster on 6/7/2011 8:52:05 AM , Rating: 2
http://contagiodump.blogspot.com/2011/02/targeted-...

This is the original article about the spear phishing attacks and it doesn't seem what it supposed to be. Here are some facts.

1) This article was posted more than 3 months ago.
2) This site provided 9 sample phishing emails, 2 of them come from Mainland China (from that vocational school), 4 of them from Hong Kong, 2 of them coming South Korea, and one from New York. Don't tell me that the South Korean and US government collaborated in these phishing attacks.
3) These phishing attacks are not the standard, "Please log in to verify your account name," but more 'business' related email headings like:

"Fw:Draft US-China Joint Statement"
"Joint Statement - U S draft_KC edits.doc"
"Re:Fw:your photo"
"Re:2010_Security rationale for reducing NWs"
"FW:US china"
"Re:your photo"

I don't know how does the Chinese government picture, but read the article and see for yourself.




By xyzCoder on 6/16/2011 6:36:12 PM , Rating: 2
Here's what people always forget in their mad dash for maximum (rather than optimal) growth: you have all sorts of opportunity costs in all your ventures, so saying 'no' to sometimes sizable 'potential markets' is the smartest thing to do.

The key thing for Google to keep in mind is the following: China desperately needs Google (as well as wikipedia, etc.) in order to be able to become more than just a manufacturing stop-over / industrial waste ground. For them to be able to have effective computer programmers, researchers and engineers, they need access to the best sources of data. It's not just about finding games/media, no matter what Baidu likes to suggest.

And besides: it's not like there's any way to make money in the contentious business of 'information' in a majorly totalitarian country unless you agree to work outrageously with their establishment to prop up their preferred status quo. No way that Google can get away with doing that, given their image, so why continue the game with their establishment? They can be hands-off and still keep making the same amount of money, and they can start migrating their Google IT jobs out of the country - say, to Singapore - while still offering localized versions of their already multilingual web services.

Google shouldn't shy away from standing up to Chinese censors, IMO: they've got no 'hand', so why worry? All their base belong to their people, soon...




Lol@chinese
By ironmb on 6/7/11, Rating: 0
You call phishing a hack?
By pugster on 6/6/11, Rating: -1
RE: You call phishing a hack?
By 85 on 6/6/2011 10:00:49 AM , Rating: 3
hacking is a broad term. phishing is malicious in nature so what does it matter. i get phishing emails all the time and these email ARE obvious to you and I but most people aren't capable of seeing the signs. Just because people out there are unable to see the signs doesn't mean they deserve to be taken advantage of.


RE: You call phishing a hack?
By pugster on 6/6/2011 10:02:34 AM , Rating: 1
Doesn't google have some kind of sophisticated email filter? Shouldn't they be filtering these emails as junk before reaching to people's inboxes?


By JasonMick (blog) on 6/6/2011 10:08:49 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
Doesn't google have some kind of sophisticated email filter? Shouldn't they be filtering these emails as junk before reaching to people's inboxes?


Remember, the goal of phishing, in many cases, is to make the email look and sound as authentic as possible. Google likely is able to filter out a great deal of malicious traffic, but against a sophisticated and determined social engineer, I'm sure something might slip through.


RE: You call phishing a hack?
By Digimonkey on 6/6/2011 10:08:34 AM , Rating: 4
Yeah and they're pretty good, but they can't filter stupid yet.


RE: You call phishing a hack?
By WoWCow on 6/6/2011 5:19:08 PM , Rating: 3
Brilliant response!

And yeah, frankly sometimes even legitimate servers/sources can be compromised.

Back in college, I've received e-mails from financial offices claiming loan issues and I need to confirm my identity via SSN and other required student information in via the link provided.

Now, I receive e-mails claiming to be from the bank(s) and credit card companies on a few occasions telling me my account/card has been compromised and I need to 'verify' my identity via the link the e-mail provides.

Do yourself a favor, call the customer/student support or drop by the local offices yourself in those cases. The folks working there shouldn't have to ask you for those information when you have already provided them before. In most cases, the last 4 digits of the SSN or the card number is accepted as a form of verification.


RE: You call phishing a hack?
By JasonMick (blog) on 6/6/2011 10:06:47 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
Seriously, Mick. The Chinese government could've thought of more sophisticated ways to attack Google rather than sending out phishing emails along with other emails from American Express, Paypal and Citibank. If someone actually responds to those emails and puts in their personal information, he/she deserves to be 'hacked.'

Hi "pugster", if you learn much about hacking you will come to realize that social engineering schemes (on-site espionage, dumpster diving, phone conversations, and, yes, phishing) are essential tools of the trade.

Some of the most serious intrusions in the world have been attributed to phishing and/or social engineering. These most certainly fall under the broader definition of "hacking" and were perpetrated by "hackers".

As to the allegation against the Chinese gov't I made no claims to have validated that accusation, other than to properly point readers to its source -- Google Inc. Google has made statements tracing the attack to a major Chinese city, which is an intelligence hotbed. If you have an issue with those claims, please direct your commentary @ Google as I am unable to help you in that regard...


RE: You call phishing a hack?
By pugster on 6/6/11, Rating: -1
By JasonMick (blog) on 6/6/2011 11:16:55 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
Second, the place where the phishing 'attacks' come from some vocational school which also teaches cooking and hairdressing. So the problem is more like the its IT people who could not apply patches to its computers.

Again I'm not an authority on this matter (refer to: Google), but if you were the Chinese gov't intelligence agency would you try to hack Gmail accts. from:
a) Fancy intelligence headquarters.
b) Small business down the street, after first passing through proxies...

Also, how many cooks/hairdressers do you know who have the time and/or know how to try to conduct sophisticated phishing attacks?

I don't think Steven Seagull works as a cook there, if that helps...


RE: You call phishing a hack?
By Dr of crap on 6/6/2011 10:25:59 AM , Rating: 2
I have to agree.
If you answer an email to help your hurt relative in Africa, then you are going to loose your money.
Plain and simple.
And I do understand that the hackers try and make their phishing emails look offical, but by now we have ALL seen the news stories about this and SHOULD know not to respond to such emails, no matter HOW OFFICAL it may look. Maybe your grandpa and grandma might NEED a heavy duty email junk filter so that they do not see these emails and believe these things!

If Google did indeed track it to China, then what is the problem? China have egg on their face?


RE: You call phishing a hack?
By Ragin69er on 6/6/2011 3:20:39 PM , Rating: 2
phishing is much more sophisticated than that nowadays!
How about being able to mimic your online bank emails? Or many, many other trustworthy sources. Which then take you to websites which look nigh identical to their real counterparts. Phishing is basically social engineering for the 21st century, which can be highly effective.


RE: You call phishing a hack?
By nafhan on 6/6/2011 10:29:59 AM , Rating: 5
Your mom deserves to be hacked (seriously, she's not very good at computer security). :)

Seriously, though, nobody "deserves to be hacked" any more than they deserve to be mugged or have their identity stolen, etc.


RE: You call phishing a hack?
By 0ldman on 6/6/2011 12:09:36 PM , Rating: 5
I run an ISP and consult for another. We get hammered by Chinese IP's daily.

The phishing attack isn't news to me. We have blocked huge east Asian subnets from our network due to this sort of thing.

Seriously, 90% of the attacks that hit both systems are from east Asia.

Rather than spread FUD, why doesn't the Chinese government work to stop the hackers, hmm? Are they completely clueless to what is going on, clueless as to how to stop them or are they just letting it happen?


RE: You call phishing a hack?
By Klober on 6/6/2011 12:56:39 PM , Rating: 5
Or encouraging it?


RE: You call phishing a hack?
By GreenEuropean on 6/6/11, Rating: -1
"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen














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