Friday, February 01, 2013

Chinese government hacks NYTimes, WSJournal, to identify dissidents at home, only

The New York Times has reported in great detail on the hacking of its computers, apparently under the direction of the Chinese government, which took indirect routes of commandeering small business computers around the world to obfuscate its work, and which used sophisticated, deliberate password crackers and decryption “rainbow” tables.  Generally, only a state goes to this kind of effort.

China wanted to get the identity of individual Chinese people who had talked to the New York Times and Wall Street Journal about corruption in the Chinese government and upper floors of some major companies.  Then the government could harass, chill, or possibly arrest or interrogate those citizens.  

China did not try to gain any information about New York Times subscribers, distributors, or other stakeholders in the US or the West (we’ve read of security problems when criminals get hold of newspaper subscription holds, for example, in California; nothing like that was going on here). 
A detailed story in the New York Times by Nicole Perlroth is here

The main account in the Wall Street Journal is here

The Washington Post is also reporting that has been attacked regularly since 2009 or so, here. The story is by Craig Timberg and Ellen Nakashima.  The story discusses a blog by Brian Krebs and possible investigation by the NSA and DOD.  Again, the attacks are very sophisticated, use third parties, and appear intended "only" to intimidate dissidents within China. 
 Picture: The Ballston Common Mall (Arlington Va) computer system crashes, shows its dity laudry. 

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