Cyber attacks on press reveal gap in US diplomacy

Published: Friday, Feb. 1 2013 12:30 p.m. MST

In this July 22, 2008 file photo, traffic passes in front of The New York Times building in New York.

Associated Press

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Our take: The New York Times recently reported a cyber attack from some Chinese hackers. Jody Westby from Forbes praises the Times for how they reacted to the incident.

"On January 30, The New York Times reported that it had been under sustained cyber attacks from Chinese hackers who had infiltrated their system to steal login credentials and information from its reporters and employees. The Times noted that the attacks coincided with its coverage concerning the massive financial holdings of relatives of China's prime minister, Wen Jiabao, and continued for months. Using tactics similar to those previously attributed by security experts to the Chinese military, the attackers weaved their communications through U.S. university systems in an attempt to mask their origin. One day later, The Wall Street Journal reported that its computer systems also have been subjected to 'wide-ranging electronic surveillance' by Chinese attackers in an attempt to gain intelligence on the publication's coverage of Chinese issues. The articles revealed that Bloomberg LP and Thomson Reuters PLC have acknowledged that they, too, have suffered attacks, but they have not indicated who may have been behind them.

"Frankly, none of this is shocking. Reports of Chinese cyber hackers targeting American critical infrastructure facilities, research and development organizations, major corporations, and the U.S. government have filled the media for the past few years. The most interesting aspect to the Times story is how the NYT let the perpetrators lurk inside their systems for months to enable them to identify the hackers' access methods, while simultaneously replacing compromised machines and building up defenses. The company revealed sophistication and patience in its approach and a management commitment to conduct a serious forensic investigation. Kudos to them. I hope other companies take notice."

Read more about Hackers on Forbes.

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