Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Google vs. China Google Details Its Efforts Against Chinese Cyber Attacks, May Close Google.cn

Late Tuesday night, Google made a posting on their official blog that
made some serious accusations against the People's Republic of China.
They have implied that the Chinese government has been committing cyber
attacks against Google (and other large Western companies) with the
intent being to gain personal information on Chinese human rights
activists, ones both in and out of China.
According to Google's post, they, like a
lot of well-known websites, receive regular attempts to hack their
computers, but most pose no threat to the company. Google goes on to say
that starting in mid-December 2009, they started to track well
organized, serious attacks on their corporate infrastructure that
originated from the country of China. These attacks resulted in the
theft of intellectual property from Google .
The goal of the hackers wasn't the search algorithms or something
related to Google Maps – instead it was much more sinister.
Google's investigations revealed that the attackers were after private
information of human rights activists who had protested the Chinese
government policies. These Gmail accounts belonged to people in the US,
Europe, and yes, China itself.
The attackers got access to two Gmail accounts, although they only
received the list of subject lines from archived e-mails and account
information ( such as the date the account was created, Google says).
Google believes that other targets have had their accounts breached by
social engineering (password guessing, phishing, malware, etc.)
Google's investigation also uncovered that the same Chinese attackers
also attacked 20 other western companies, including ones in the
Internet, media, finance, technology and chemical production sectors.
Obviously Google doesn't name names publicly, but those companies have
been informed, as has the US government.
Google goes on to assure their current users that their Gmail accounts
are safe, and then, goes on to drop a bomb. Google, which launched
Google.cn in 2006, has cooperated with the Chinese government and all of
their censorship requirements. In light of these recent cyber attacks,
Google is going to request that they and the Chinese come to an
agreement where they can run Google.cn with no filters or firewalls. If
they cannot, Google vows to remove Google.cn and close their Chinese
offices.
This is a big deal. Aside from the Chinese government's attempts to get
information on human rights activists, which is big, this also is a
paradigm shift in how Google has treated China. Google, Yahoo and others
have gotten flak for cooperating with the Chinese government and their
censorship policies. This could be the end of that cooperation.
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