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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Role in Fighting IS Carries Domestic Risks

There are Western concerns Islamic State militants soon may unleash offensive in kingdom that could create upheaval - though nation has solid intel, grip on banking system More

Asian-Americans Enter Public Office in Record Numbers

A steady deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid