China Web Attack 'Massive Spy Assault on US'

Hackers targeted defense, tech firms as well as activists
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Jan 14, 2010 3:26 AM CST
Chinese guards try to keep the media away from China's Google headquarters in Beijing today.   (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
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(Newser) – The cyberattacks on human rights activists that sparked Google's threat to quit China were part of a massive spy campaign targeting American financial, defense, and technology firms, according to security experts. The highly sophisticated attacks used email attachments to access the networks of at least 34 firms, including Yahoo and Dow Chemical, congressional and industry sources tell the Washington Post.

The nature of such attacks makes it hard to trace the source, but analysts believe Google wouldn't have blamed China without solid evidence. "This is a big espionage program aimed at getting high-tech information and politically sensitive information—the high-tech information to jump-start China's economy and the political information to ensure the survival of the regime," said an expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "This is what China's leadership is after. This reflects China's national priorities."

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