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Google phishing: Chinese Gmail attack raises cyberwar tensions

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Charles Arthur
London Guardian
June 2, 2011

Tensions between the US, UK and China over the issue of cyber-attacks were set to escalate after it emerged that Chinese hackers have stolen the login details of hundreds of senior US and South Korean government officials as well as Chinese political activists.

Google said it had discovered and alerted hundreds of people who had been taken in by a carefully targeted “phishing” scam originating from Jinan, the capital of Shandong province. Hackers aimed to get complete control of users’ email accounts on the Gmail system.

While there is no direct evidence that the hackers were in the pay of the Chinese government, the sophistication of the attacks and their highly targeted nature eliminates direct financial gain as a motive. Google did not rule out the possibility of the attack being state-sponsored.

The action could seriously heighten tensions over the issue of cyberwar. The US government moved this week to classify cyber-attacks as “acts of war”, while the defence minister Nick Harvey said on Monday that “action in cyberspace will form part of the future battlefield”.

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This article was posted: Thursday, June 2, 2011 at 4:30 am





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