The New York Times has revealed that over the last four months, Chinese hackers have repeatedly attacked the company’s computer system, something it says coincides with an investigation it published on Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao’s relatives. With the aid of security experts, the company has stopped the attackers, but not before they managed to get data on reporters and employees.
The security personnel hired by the New York Times identified that the attacks were originating from China, and that they were similiar to those that have been linked to the nation’s military. The attacks were pushed through breached universities throughout the U.S. in an effort to hide where they were originating from. The breach on the Times’ computer system was achieved via malware.
Once access to the computers was achieved, the hackers then gathered passwords for all Times’ employees, and via those managed to gain access to 53 personal computers. At the end of it all, the hackers then gained access to the email accounts of David Barboza, the New York Times’ bureau chief in Shanghai, as well as Jim Yardley, its previous bureau chief in Beijing. The hackers were not successful in accessing any data that was of a sensitive nature about the Wen family investigation, however.
The investigation in question concerns information showing that the Prime Minister’s family has a several billion dollar fortune that it has amassed via “business dealings.” Customers don’t need to worry, with the Times reporting that security experts say only information related to the Wen family investigation was sought. When questioned, the Chinese Ministry of National Defense called the accusations unprofessional, and said that such activity is against Chinese law, completely avoiding a straight “no” response.
[via New York Times]