Google was hammered by China's Communist newspaper for accusing the Chinese government of hacking into Gmail accounts. The publication claimed Google was trying to stir political unrest between China and the U.S.
government newspaper took issue with Google's accusation that it had traced
cyber-attacks on Gmail accounts to that country, claiming that the search-engine
giant was simply trying to stir political unrest.
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) June 1 disrupted
a phishing scam that duped senior U.S. government officials, Chinese political
activists and others into giving up their Gmail passwords so that an attacker
could read and forward their email messages.
affected hundreds of users and appeared to hail from Jinan, China, which is
home to one of the People's Liberation Army's technical reconnaissance bureaus,
or China's equivalent of the National Security Agency in the United States.
implication was that the Chinese government was behind the attacks. Hong Lei,
spokesman for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, denied his government had
anything to do with the attacks, calling them "fabrication out of thin air"
The People's Daily
which writes on behalf of China's Communist Party, said June 6 that Google made
its claims out of "a vicious intent of sparking new disputes concerning
Internet security between China and the U.S," according to The Wall Street Journal
editor Zhang Yixuan also lobbed a veiled threat at the search-engine company when
he wrote in the front-page editorial: "Google shouldn't engulf itself in
the international political war as a tool for political gaming," If there
is "any change in the international atmosphere, I am afraid Google will
become a target to be sacrificed by politics, and also will be discarded by the
implication is that Google would lose more face, political capital and market
share if it pursued its allegations against the country. There is precedent for
lost search market share to market leader Baidu after tracing
cyber-attacks on Gmail accounts of Chinese dissidents and human-rights
activists to China. Google, which threatened to exit China entirely, ceased
censoring search results there and sent users to the Google.hk domain in Hong
Google, which passed
its evidence of the Gmail hacks along to the FBI, declined to comment directly
on the editorial. However, a spokesperson told eWEEK
: "We think
users should be aware of the disturbing campaign we've uncovered to collect
user passwords and monitor user email. Our focus now is on protecting our users
and making sure everyone knows how to stay safe online."
House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) wrote
to Google CEO Larry Page on Monday requesting more information on the Gmail
phishing attacks. Issa asked
Google not only to name all federal employees targeted in the attack, but also to disclose
all communications related to Google's response.
Google told eWEEK
it is reviewing Issa's
letter, adding: "We believe that discussing security issues facing our
industry helps users better protect themselves from phishing scams and other