Print 30 comment(s) - last by WUMINJUN.. on Jan 25 at 8:57 AM

Google is investigating possible insider assistance

China has been found numerous times to be the source of cyber attacks against both the U.S. government and U.S.-based companies. The latest such attack was perpetrated against search giant Google and was carried out in mid-December 2009.

Google has acknowledged that the attack resulted in theft of IP and source code. Reports have surfaced that claim Google is considering leaving the Chinese market due to the theft of the IP and because its Gmail accounts are being repeatedly targeted by hackers. Google has reported that the accounts of human rights activists in China and the accounts of tech companies are most often targeted.

Google Chief Legal Counsel David Drummond said when Google announced the attack, "In mid-December, we detected a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China that resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google. However, it soon became clear that what at first appeared to be solely a security incident--albeit a significant one--was something quite different."

Since the attacks, the relationship between Google and the Chinese government has continued to deteriorate with Google announcing that it would uncensor all searches on its Chinese website. The Chinese government issued a thinly veiled response saying that it welcomed all internet firms that follow its laws.

New information surfaced that lays some of the blame for the attacks at Microsoft's feet. A memory flaw in Internet Explorer was reportedly exploited in attacks against Google and other firms including Adobe.

Reuters reports today that Google is probing the attacks and is considering that the attackers might have had insider assistance from Google employees. The attacks targeted specific employees that had access to very specific parts of the Google network.

The attackers used a trojan that was a modified version of Hydraq. Security analysts say the sophistication of the attacks wasn't in the method of attack used, but that the attackers knew exactly what people inside Google to target with the attacks.

A Google spokesperson said, "We're not commenting on rumor and speculation. This is an ongoing investigation, and we simply cannot comment on the details."

Chinese media citing sources within Google report that some Google China workers were cut off from access to internal networks after January 13 and some staff were put on leave. More staff members at the Google China offices were transferred to other offices within the Google Asia Pacific area.

Reuters reports that Google is also set to have talks with the Chinese government in the next few days. The talks are sure to focus on Google's plan to uncensor search results and the attacks on its networks. The U.S. government is getting involved in the search for answers to how the attack on Google's networks happened. A diplomatic note has reportedly been sent to China from Washington asking for an explanation on the December attacks against Google.

Google only said about the talks, "We are going to have talks with them [Chinese government] in the coming few days."

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By Shadowmaster625 on 1/18/2010 11:23:14 AM , Rating: 2
Speculation: someone near the top of BIDU hires a mole to get inside google. Google gets sabotaged and pulls out. How much is that worth to BIDU? Sounds like the chinese have figured out how American Capitalism really works.

By Solandri on 1/18/2010 12:23:30 PM , Rating: 5
There's a cultural difference at play too. In Western societies, industrial espionage happens, but is frowned upon. In Eastern societies, industrial espionage is pretty much universal. Stealing secrets falls into their notion of competition, and it's the responsibility of the secret-holder to protect their secrets. Bribery is rampant there too, and businesses operate under the assumption that their employees will be bribed, tightly partitioning off important info on a need-to-know basis.

The Chinese probably can't believe the naivety of all these Western companies giving them all their secrets so their products can be manufactured in China, thinking that a mere copyright or patent will protect them.

By mfed3 on 1/18/10, Rating: 0
By lagitup on 1/18/2010 2:26:57 PM , Rating: 5
Go do some research into Asian cultures. With ties to the Japanese fishing industry, I can say that his comment was a reasonably accurate representation of the Eastern mentality.

By ajfink on 1/19/2010 5:24:54 AM , Rating: 2
Having lived and worked in South Korea for six months now - that exactly sums up how things are done.

By rudy on 1/18/2010 11:05:08 PM , Rating: 3
BS in eastern society corruption is out of control so they cannot stop it. But most of the normal people in those societies know it is wrong and unacceptable. It is definitely frowned upon. This is because normal people who do not take part in the corruption cannot move up in positions. But the vast majority of the people are normal and see this stuff as wrong. However when it is an outside company and the news is controlled it is much harder to get help. But trust me if this happened to Baidu and google was the culprit there would be hell to pay.

By luhar49 on 1/19/2010 10:49:20 AM , Rating: 2
Does BAIDU have any secrets that Goggle would care about?

Soon companies would have to start profiling Chinese people who work in US. Just cant trust them. They wouldnt think twice about stealing from the company that pays their salary to help their "motherland". Let them keep their patriotism at home and do some original thinking rather than stealing from others.

By someguy123 on 1/20/2010 12:33:50 AM , Rating: 2
I hope to god you mean chinese workers with visas and not all chinese people in general.

By WUMINJUN on 1/25/2010 8:57:22 AM , Rating: 2
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By meepstone on 1/18/10, Rating: 0
RE: oh?
By Flahrydog on 1/18/2010 10:00:42 AM , Rating: 5
Does it surprise you that Google finds IE6 to be superior to Google Chrome?

RE: oh?
By meepstone on 1/18/2010 10:41:29 AM , Rating: 2
Good one, didn't think of that!

RE: oh?
By HostileEffect on 1/18/2010 3:14:39 PM , Rating: 2
+1 this one is thinking.

RE: oh?
By reader1 on 1/18/10, Rating: -1
RE: oh?
By drycrust3 on 1/19/2010 10:42:04 AM , Rating: 2
Well, obviously someone was able to justify this, which is why some people think that is the real inside job.

RE: oh?
By kroker on 1/18/2010 5:36:05 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think it's like that at all. Google needs to test all of its sites in IE 6 as well, so many developers there will need to have it installed somewhere. It not because the WANT it, it's because they NEED it. Also, some of the people who work there may simply choose to continue using IE 6 because they are familiar with it, and they don't give a damn about which browser it's superior as long as it works.

That being said, I've been using Chrome for a few months now and there are many things I hate about it. The thing I hate most is the memory thrashing that occurs if you have more than a few tabs opened and also use a few other applications in the meantime; when you go back to a previous tab it takes about 3-5 seconds to load from paging memory (this is probably because each tab has a separate process). I find this extremely annoying. Firefox and other browsers don't do this even though I regularly have many more tabs opened than in Chrome and also considering that Firefox seems to be eating a lot of memory. I have 4GB of RAM and Windows XP 32bit (it only sees 3.5GB but it should still be plenty, I rarely go over 2GB of usage).

RE: oh?
By mcnabney on 1/18/2010 6:08:08 PM , Rating: 2
My employer - a telecom entity - still uses IE6, so no real surprises there.

I am really looking forward to the war. It is going to be awesome! Nukes in the first round. Totally redefine the world order. Should be very exciting up until the whole dying part.

RE: oh?
By drycrust3 on 1/19/2010 10:36:36 AM , Rating: 2
Bingo! I agree! That is the inside job! The person who decided to run Windows, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Office, and antivirus (and arguably malware) software instead of a Linux distribution (e.g. Ubuntu), Chrome, and Google Docs (or OpenOffice suite).
Yes, there are limitations with this combination, but the security is much higher. The major limitation in my experience relates to writing scientific papers. I'm not sure how serious that is for them, but if they all used OpenOffice then the problem may well disappear. That combination is the list of products that seem to be promoted by Google. As we have seen, it wasn't the computers running Ubuntu & Chrome that were hacked, it was the ones running IE (presumably on Microsoft Windows) that were hacked.

Inside Help Is Highly Likely
By azcoyote on 1/19/2010 12:51:09 PM , Rating: 2
Having worked in China for 3 years for a multi-billion $ corp, I can assure you insider jobs happen. China's government has a thumb in everything and if they can leverage tech to their advantage (think Huawei routers stealing Cisco code - ) they do it and they could care less what anyone thinks.

Piracy is rampant at all levels of society and government in China. Intellectual property theft is not off limits to them. So feel free to believe the tin foil hatters. Inside jobs happen in China....

RE: Inside Help Is Highly Likely
By Uncle on 1/19/2010 3:11:25 PM , Rating: 2
Have to agree. The Chinese are smart. No more sending out spies that stand out like a sore thumb in the west. Just invite the west over with cheap labor and then steal all the tech right from under their nose. Couldn't be simpler.

By hellokeith on 1/18/2010 6:15:56 PM , Rating: 2
While it's certainly a possibility, it kinda sounds like a deflection. Placing blame on an unknown internal source deflects the blame away from weak external security.

Gotta blame that &%$# up
By Shadrack2 on 1/20/2010 10:13:02 AM , Rating: 2
New information surfaced that lays some of the blame for the attacks at Microsoft's feet.

Really, blame? I think if I were to drive an F150 through a convenience store window and drag out the cash register Ford would not be held accountable in any way.

By CalWorthing on 1/18/10, Rating: -1
RE: Recall
By NicodemusMM on 1/18/2010 10:50:55 AM , Rating: 3
Tinfoil hat much?

RE: Recall
By CalWorthing on 1/18/2010 1:41:15 PM , Rating: 1
Laminated carbon beret, and I carry a magnetron under each arm.

RE: Recall
By Beno on 1/18/2010 12:27:41 PM , Rating: 2
it is possible to put a backdoor in the hardware. but it would be discovered once it goes outside :/

RE: Recall
By rippleyaliens on 1/18/2010 2:27:41 PM , Rating: 2
And Google acts surprised... My question is, if the Chinese is soo against hacking, and the Chinese government controls internet access.. How was google and other companies hacked, without chinese knowledge of the hacking??
I can see Google and all the companies affected, just letting this one slide.. Yet if this happened in california, HEADS WOULD ROLL..

RE: Recall
By vapore0n on 1/18/2010 3:23:11 PM , Rating: 2
China's government has a good poker face.

RE: Recall
By aj28 on 1/18/2010 10:39:55 PM , Rating: 1
Primarily Taiwan and Japan, matter o' fact.

RE: Recall
By CalWorthing on 1/18/2010 11:13:42 PM , Rating: 2
Glad to hear it. Which? I know some Intel chips are made in the US, but are installed on boards in China (mainland & Taiwan). Asus, Biostar, Gigabyte, MSI, "Apple" boards are made/assembled in ROC and Taiwan.


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