News / USA

US Investigating 'Serious' Hacker Attack on Google Accounts

A woman walks past the logo of Google in front of its headquarters in Beijing January 12, 2011
A woman walks past the logo of Google in front of its headquarters in Beijing January 12, 2011
William Ide

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says federal authorities are investigating Internet giant Google's accusation that computer hackers, most likely in China, broke into the e-mail accounts of hundreds of users including Chinese political activists, journalists and those of government officials both in the United States and from several Asian countries.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the United States is taking the allegations very seriously and that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is working together with Google to investigate the attacks.

"We are obviously very concerned about Google's announcement regarding a campaign that the company believes originated in China to collect the passwords of Google e-mail account holders," said Secretary Clinton.

Clinton made her remarks Thursday during an appearance with the foreign minister of the Czech Republic in Washington. Although Google says the campaign appears to have targeted senior U.S. government officials, the White House says it does not have any immediate reason to believe that government accounts were attacked. Google did not say which U.S. officials were affected, or how long the users' accounts were exposed.

Cyber security is becoming a diplomatic priority for the United States and the State Department recently appointed a cyber security coordinator to focus on tackling information theft and reducing the risk of conflicts.

Clinton says the United States believes cyber issues are going to be a continuing problem.

"We know this is going to be a continuing problem and therefore we want to be as prepared as possible to deal with these matters when they do come to our attention," said Clinton

China has lashed out at Google, saying it is "unacceptable" for the company to blame China for the attack. In its statement, however, Google did not say the Chinese government was behind the attacks or what the possible motives of those behind the campaign might have been.

The company did say the goal of the attack seemed to have been to monitor the contents of the users’ e-mails, with the perpetrators apparently using stolen passwords to change peoples’ forwarding e-mail settings. Google says hackers used malware and phishing scams to dupe users into sharing their passwords and hacked into other websites to obtain Gmail users account information.

Dean Cheng, an Asia security analyst at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, says that just because the attack originated in China does not mean that it was carried with the knowledge and approval of the Chinese government.

"China becomes more of a suspect because of who is being hacked and the kinds of things that are being hacked," said Cheng.

Google is not the only company to recently have been the target of a high-profile attack. U.S. defense company Lockheed Martin Corporation also recently reported an attempt to take information from its company computers.

Last month, the company said it experienced what it called a  "significant and tenacious attack" on its networks. After taking aggressive actions to protect its systems no data was compromised. It is unclear who or what country might have been behind the attack.

China says that it too is frequently the victim of hacking attacks and says the claims of those who say it is supporting such attacks are completely unfounded.

Heritage's Dean Cheng says it is true that many countries, including China, are facing attacks.

"The difference is I think, that China - whether it's this Blue Army of military cyber hackers that they've established and now publicly acknowledged or cyber intrusions that have been traced to Shanghai Jiaotong University - seems to have more of a state role," he said.

Last year, Google relocated its search engine to Hong Kong, following a dispute with the Chinese government over censorship and following a serious hacking attack. It says this year's attack originated in the same region as last year's attack.

The company says it traced the hackers to Jinan, the capital of China's eastern Shandong province, where the People's Liberation Army has a so-called technical reconnaissance bureau and a technical college.

You May Like

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs