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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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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.


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