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Gmail Hackers Went After White House

Officials' personal accounts may have been compromised
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 2, 2011 7:58 PM CDT

(Newser) – Those alleged Gmail hackers from China weren't messing around: They went after the White House, reports the Wall Street Journal. It remains unclear exactly who was targeted or whether any sensitive information was compromised, but the hackers were apparently hoping that high-ranking officials were conducting government business on their personal accounts. The practice is officially prohibited but generally considered to be widespread because private emails have more protection from official investigations and FOI requests.

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"These allegations are very serious," said Hillary Clinton, and the FBI has launched an investigation. This particular phishing attack wasn't all that sophisticated, according to CBS. "It looked like an innocent looking email offering the latest US/China joint statement—but if the reader clicked on the document, what appeared next was a Gmail log in page—which was fake—and which fooled some users into giving up their private passwords." The Washington Post says the personal account of one "Cabinet-level official" got compromised in the ruse. The ultimate goal may have been to gain control of the victims' home computers and monitor everything on them. China denies it was a state-sponsored hack. (Read more Gmail stories.)

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