From: Oscar Abendan (AV-PH)
Sent: Wednesday, March 31, 2010 8:09:52 PM
Subject: NEWSBANK: Journalists’ E-Mails Hacked in China
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The infiltrations, which involved Yahoo e-mail accounts, appeared to be aimed at people who write about
The attacks, most of which began last Thursday, occurred the same week that Google angered the Chinese government by routing Internet search engine requests out of the mainland to a site in Hong Kong. Google said the move was prompted by its objections to censorship rules and by a spate of attacks on Google e-mail users that the company suggested had originated in
Those cyberattacks, which began as early as last April, affected dozens of American corporations, law firms and individuals, many of them rights advocates critical of China’s authoritarian government.
The victims of the most recent intrusions included a law professor in the
“It’s very unsettling,” said Clifford Coonan, the China correspondent for Variety magazine, whose e-mail account was rendered inaccessible last week after Yahoo detected that someone had gained access to it remotely. “You can’t help but wonder why you’ve been targeted.”
In an e-mail exchange, Dana Lengkeek, a Yahoo spokeswoman, declined to discuss the incidents, citing company policy. “We are committed to protecting user security and privacy and we take appropriate action in the event of any kind of breach,” Ms. Lengkeek said.
Kathleen McLaughlin, an American freelance journalist in
Like the others, said she received a message from Yahoo on Thursday indicating that her account had been disabled because, according to an automated message, "we have detected an issue with your account."
She said she contacted Yahoo but has yet to receive an explanation of what happened. “Someone is clearly targeting journalists,” she said. “It makes me feel very uncomfortable.”Yahoo, which in 2005 sold its
Although the company owns a 39 percent stake in Alibaba, Ms. Lengkeek, the Yahoo spokeswoman, stressed that Yahoo no longer has operational control over the
Unlike Google and Microsoft, the company maintains servers in
Computer security experts say infiltration of Yahoo’s e-mail service once again highlights the challenges that Internet companies face in protecting their customers from hackers.
Paul Wood, a senior analyst at the Symantec Corporation, said a growing number of malignant viruses were tailored to specific recipients, with the goal of tricking them into opening attachments that would insert malware onto their computers. Mr. Wood said his company, which designs anti-virus software, now blocks about 60 such attacks each day, up from 1 or 2 a week in 2005. “They’re very well crafted and extremely damaging,” he said.
A report issued by Symantec on Monday found that nearly 30 percent of attacks originated from computers in
Mr. Wood and other experts point out that attacks appearing to come from a certain location can just as easily be emanating from computers infected with botnets, a virus that allows them be controlled remotely by other computing systems.
It is this kind of rogue software that is probably responsible for crippling the Web site of Chinese Human Rights Defenders, a group that has been an assertive critic of
Renee Xia, the international director for the human rights group, said the assault began the same day the American company that is host to its site, Go Daddy, announced that it would stop registering domain names in
Google Finds New Cyberattack
Google said the attack may have infected the computers of tens of thousands of people who downloaded Vietnamese keyboard language software.
An earlier version of this article referred incorrectly to the year in which Yahoo turned some data over to Chinese officials, and also to the company's relationship to Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce company. The data was handed over in 2004, not 2006. In 2005, the company sold its