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NY Times says Chinese hacked paper’s computers



photo from nytimes.com

BEIJING — Chinese hackers repeatedly penetrated The New York Times’ computer systems over the past four months, stealing reporters’ passwords and hunting for files on an investigation into the wealth amassed by the family of a top Chinese leader, the newspaper reported Thursday.

Security experts hired to investigate and plug the breach found that the attacks used tactics similar to ones used in previous hacking incidents traced to China, the report said. It said the hackers routed the attacks through computers at U.S. universities, installed a strain of malicious software, or malware, associated with Chinese hackers and initiated the attacks from Chinese university computers previously used by the Chinese military to attack U.S. military contractors.

The attacks, which began in mid-September, coincided with a Times investigation into how the relatives and family of Premier Wen Jiabao built a fortune worth over $2 billion. The report, which was posted online Oct. 25, embarrassed the Communist Party leadership, coming ahead of a fraught transition to new leaders and exposing deep-seated favoritism at a time when many Chinese are upset about a wealth gap.

Over the months of cyber-incursions, the hackers eventually lifted the computer passwords of all Times employees and used them to get into the personal computers of 53 employees.

The report said none of the Times’ customer data was compromised and that information about the investigation into the Wen family remained protected, though it left unclear what data or communications the infiltrators accessed.

“Computer security experts found no evidence that sensitive emails or files from the reporting of our articles about the Wen family were accessed, downloaded or copied,” the report quoted executive editor Jill Abramson as saying. A Times spokeswoman declined to comment further.

The Chinese foreign and defense ministries called the Times’ allegations baseless, and the Defense Ministry denied any involvement by the military.

“Chinese law forbids hacking and any other actions that damage Internet security,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement. “The Chinese military has never supported any hacking activities. Cyber-attacks are characterized by being cross-national and anonymous. To accuse the Chinese military of launching cyber-attacks without firm evidence is not professional and also groundless.”

China has been accused by the U.S., other foreign governments and computer security experts of mounting a widespread, aggressive cyber-spying campaign for several years, trying to steal classified information and corporate secrets and to intimidate critics. Foreign reporters and news media, including The Associated Press, have been among the targets of attacks intended to uncover the identities of sources for news stories and to stifle critical reports about the Chinese government.

“Attacks on journalists based in China are increasingly aggressive, disruptive and sophisticated,” said Greg Walton, a cyber-security researcher who has tracked Chinese hacking campaigns. China’s cyber-spying efforts have excelled in part because of the government’s “willingness to ignore international norms relating to civil society and media organizations,” he said.

The Times reported that executives became concerned just before the publication of the Wen investigation after learning that Chinese officials had warned of unspecified consequences. Soon after the Oct. 25 publication, AT&T, which monitors the Times’ computer networks, notified the company about activity consistent with a hacking attack, the report said.

After months of investigation by the computer security firm Mandiant, experts are still unsure how the hackers initially infiltrated the Times’ computer systems, the report said.


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Tags: China , cyber spying , hacking , Internet , New York Times , News , world


  • patriot2008

    What can I say? China is the most evil cheater thief nation trying to take over everybody’s territory and steal everyone’s intellectual property through hacking. Most number of hacking attacks come from China, and thats a known fact. China rose economically through hacking, counterfeiting and stealing industrial secrets. 

  • dikoy321

    Propaganda on the Internet

    More than 540 million people currently use the Internet in China, but there are also millions of Internet-based “opinion-guiding” agents employed by the Chinese government to control and censor every single Internet forum and portal.

    Secretly in the employment of the Chinese government, these censors officially are called “Internet commentators” but popularly known as the “50-Cents Party.” The nickname can be traced to October 2004 when the Hunan provincial Community Party Propaganda Department pioneered the system of paying 50 cents in Chinese yuan per posting to Internet agents hired specifically to write postings that seek to counter every piece the government dislikes.

    Based on the Hunan model in 2007, then-Communist Party General Secretary Hu Jintao issued a directive in creating a massive “Internet commentator army” made up of “comrades who are ideologically resolute, skilled in Internet technology and familiar with the approach and language of the common Internet users.” The job of the agents is to “guide public opinions expressed on the Internet.”

    Since then, these diligent 50-Cents Party members have proliferated by the millions at every Internet portal in China’s vast cyberspace, scanning and searching, incognito, for any “negative opinions” to counter. The postings are designs to appear as spontaneous, individual responses.
    In reality, these 50-Cents Party members are under the control of Communist Party propaganda apparatus at all levels of government.

    In Beijing alone, 1 in 10 residents in the capital city of 20 million are “propaganda workers,” according to the city’s vice mayor and municipal party propaganda chief Lu Wei, who spoke at a Propaganda Workers’ Conference on Jan. 17.

    He disclosed that 60,000 professional “propaganda workers” are directly in the employ by the city government and more than 2 million informal collaborators work as the city’s propaganda team, most of them on university campuses and youth-oriented organizations that are most likely Internet-based.

    At the conference, the Beijing propaganda chief ordered his propaganda army troops to master the Internet posting skills “in order to create positive energy” by posting Twitter-like messages exalting the Communist Party’s image and achievement, providing “opinion-guidance” on “hot topics” such as corruption, housing, and inequality.

  • dikoy321

    China could produce a space shuttle, similar to the Atlantis, Discovery, Challenger of the US!

    They’ve copied BMW, Audi, VW, Porsche and OPEL, all German brands !

    Even the EADS’ Airbus !

    What else ?

    Even Rolex watches !

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/RDDM5UQ45HLPPKM66KYEBCMTCE dave

    I think this is a good news to our country. Strike the Shephered and the sheeps will scatter. No matter what, if you strike the leader of chinese, the opinion of his followers will scatter. I do hope this will magnify to the point that not one chinese no longer follow their leader. that way, we can have right on our land, being disputed by these communists.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/OS3MVCRQH7UV4MJRZURFNIXGBI Cho

    This multi-year, multi-sector study estimates the physical and economic cost of air and water pollution in China as reflected in the

    – pollution-related disease burden,
    – pollution-exacerbated water scarcity,
    – wastewater irrigation,
    – loss of fisheries,
    – loss of crops, and
    – material damage.
    Building upon willingness-to-pay surveys for reducing health risks from pollution among households in Shanghai and Chongqing municipalities, the study finds that the health costs of air and water pollution in China amount to about 4.3 percent of its GDP. By adding the non-health impacts of pollution, which are estimated to be about 1.5 percent of GDP, the total cost of air and water pollution in China is about 5.8 percent of GDP. 

    The burden of both air and water pollution is not distributed evenly across the country. For example, China’s poor are disproportionately affected by the environmental health burden and only six provinces bear 50 percent of the effects of acid rain in the country.

  • w33k3nd3r

    You want this to stop, USA? You want your debt gone too? Nuke em.

  • $30288502

    Philippines shouldn’t trust United States as Philippines can’t lead the United States National Security and they are US citizens because they aren’t from white ethnic group  so American government is dictatorship authority. Fall of China means fall of Asian under Western Colonists again.



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