Chinese government linked to hacks, including attacks on foreign journalists

Now there is evidence to back up the suspicion that the Chinese government was behind the hack attacks announced by Google earlier this week. And it links the efforts by the Chinese government to the theft of software code and a recent malware attack on foreign news organizations in Beijing.

Researchers identify command servers behind Google attack

The VeriSign iDefense security lab said the Chinese government was behind the attacks recently announced by Google. The report also says the government used code deployed in PDF files to exploit a vulnerability in Adobe’s software to attack individual systems.

One of the companies hit was Juniper, the makers of Cybersitter.

Last year the Chinese government was accused of stealing code from Cybersitter to use in its Green Dam program.

The government, at that time, ordered all computers in the country to install Green Dam.

Officially, according to the Chinese government, Green Dam was required to “protect” Chinese youth from pornography. But an analysis of the code showed that the software included blocks on “Falun Gong” and other prime dissident topics. Green Dam also included code that allowed an outsider to get control of the user’s computer. Just the thing the Chinese government wants.

The report also said Green Dam was based on Cybersitter code.

The requirement was dropped once the report was issued.

Cybersitter announced this week it is suing the Chinese government over the theft of the code.

In the run up to the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic, foreign journalists in Beijing began receiving e-mails with an attached Adobe PDF document. Once opened, the file installed malware on the news organizations’ computers.

A full report on the PDF attack is here.

So just in case anyone missed the point, the cyber attacks announced by Google is not just an issue of attacks against freedom of access to the Internet or attempts to steal software it is part and parcel of a major effort by the Chinese government to censor information and intimidate foreign news organizations.

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1 Comment

Filed under Censorship, China, International News Coverage, Press Freedom

One response to “Chinese government linked to hacks, including attacks on foreign journalists

  1. Pingback: Journalism and the World » Blog Archive » Chinese government linked to hacks, including attacks on foreign journalists

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