News / USA

Experts Say Chinese, Russians Are Main Hackers of Newspapers

Three US news organizations -- The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post -- say Chinese hackers have infiltrated their company's computers to track their coverage of China.  Some experts say this has been an on-going problem for more than five years. These cyber attacks are different than most because of the danger to individuals.

A gallery at the Newseum in Washington shows the connection between technology and the news.

But the use of new media can also provide an opening for hackers -- who want to know what reporters are covering and who's giving them information.

These newspapers are not alone. Experts think nearly every media outlet has been attacked -- they either don't know it or don't report it. Hacking hits here, too, at the Voice of America.

VOA's Tibetan service broadcasts four TV shows a week and five radio shows a day.  Bureau Chief Losang Gyatso says his people confront hackers daily.

"We basically don't keep any of our contact information from our sources on our computers.  We are very careful.  We have shields and filters on all of our hard drives,"Gyatso said.

" is the Tibetan government in exile, so that address has been stolen, basically."

Gyatso says, like with the US newspapers, hacking has been traced to China.  

Alan Paller has trained 145,000 cybersecurity experts around the world.  He says more than 100 countries are involved in cyber espionage.

"China is noisier, meaning their techniques are often easier to find so they get caught a lot and so you read a lot of stories about them.  But the Russians are just as prolific and much more clandestine."

Paller says current firewalls, anti-virus, and intrusion systems are not enough.

"Although you can build high walls, people build higher ladders. So you have to catch the guys who are good enough to get over.  The way you do that is not with tools, but with skills and right now the media companies have not focused on this as a skill area. They figure they'll hire somebody after it happens," Paller said.

The Newseum has a memorial to journalists who have died while on duty.  Many were killed by people opposed to their reporting.  Patty Rhule is on the committee that reviews the names.  She's afraid of what hacking can lead to.

"If they can do it secretly, by a few clicks of a computer, that's an even more ominous note that you wouldn't even know who's coming after you," Rhule said.

Experts say the key is to make your computer so impenetrable that the hacker doesn't click -- and instead moves on to an easier victim.

Carolyn Presutti

Carolyn Presutti is an Emmy and Silver World Medal award winning television correspondent who works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters. She has also won numerous Associated Press TV, Radio, and Multimedia awards, as well as a Clarion for her TV coverage of The Syrian Medical Crisis, Haiti, The Boston Marathon Bombing, Presidential Politics, The Southern Economy, Google Glass & Other Wearables, and the 9/11 Anniversary.

You May Like

Pakistan Among Developing Countries Hit Hard by Global Warming

Pakistani officials hope developed nations agree to scale back emissions, offer help in dealing with climate change

Video Speed, Social Media Shape Counterterrorism Probes

Speed is critical in effort to prevent subsequent attacks; demographics of extremists lend themselves to communicating, establishing profiles on digital platforms

Islamic State Oil Trade Seduces Friends, Foes Alike

Terrorist group rakes in up to $500 million a year in sales to customers such as Syrian government, US-supported rebels and Turkey

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigationsi
Katherine Gypson
December 01, 2015 10:06 PM
In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigations

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Russia Marks World AIDS Day With Grim News

While HIV infection rates have steadied or even declined in many European countries, the caseload has grown rapidly in Russia, as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow. Over half of the new infections were transmitted through injection drug use.

Video Pakistan Hit Hard by Global Warming

As world leaders meet in Paris to craft a new global agreement aimed at cutting climate-changing greenhouse-gas emissions, many developing countries are watching closely for the final results. While most developing nations contribute much less to global warming than developed countries, they often feel the effects to a disproportionate degree. As Saud Zafar reports from Karachi, one such nation is Pakistan. Aisha Khalid narrates his report.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

VOA Blogs