New York Times says targeted by China hackers after Wen report

BEIJING Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:32pm IST

Pedestrians walk past the New York Times headquarters in New York March 1, 2010. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/Files

Pedestrians walk past the New York Times headquarters in New York March 1, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson/Files

Stocks

   

BEIJING (Reuters) - The New York Times said on Thursday that Chinese hackers had "persistently" attacked its computers over the past four months since the paper published a story on Premier Wen Jiabao, but sensitive material related to the report was not accessed.

The New York Times (NYT.N) said the attacks coincided with its report last October that Wen's family had accumulated at least $2.7 billion in "hidden riches". China said at the time the report smeared his name and had ulterior motives.

"For the last four months, Chinese hackers have persistently attacked The New York Times, infiltrating its computer systems and getting passwords for its reporters and other employees," The Times said on Thursday.

"Security experts hired by The Times to detect and block the computer attacks gathered digital evidence that Chinese hackers, using methods that some consultants have associated with the Chinese military in the past, breached The Times's network."

China's foreign ministry rejected the New York Times claims of Chinese hacking.

"Reaching such conclusions for no reason with uncertain evidence and no proof and saying that China participates in relevant online attacks is totally irresponsible," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a daily news briefing.

Hong reiterated China's stance that the country "is also a victim of online attacks" and said it hopes "the relevant party can take a responsible attitude towards this issue".

The hackers broke into the e-mail accounts of Shanghai bureau chief, David Barboza, who wrote the story on Wen's family, and Jim Yardley, the paper's South Asia bureau chief in India who was previously the Beijing bureau chief, it added.

"Computer security experts found no evidence that sensitive e-mails or files from the reporting of our articles about the Wen family were accessed, downloaded or copied," said Jill Abramson, the paper's executive editor.

Security experts found evidence that the hackers stole the corporate passwords for every Times employee and used those to gain access to the personal computers of 53 employees, most of them outside The Times's newsroom, the paper said.

"Experts found no evidence that the intruders used the passwords to seek information that was not related to the reporting on the Wen family."

Computer security experts at Mandiant, the company hired by the newspaper, said the hackers tried to "cloak" the source of their attacks "by first penetrating computers at United States universities and routing the attacks through them".

"This matches the subterfuge used in many other attacks that Mandiant has tracked to China."

The Chinese government has repeatedly said it opposes hacking and that China too suffers frequently from these kinds of attacks. (Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Jeremy Laurence and Michael Perry)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Mt Gox Update

Mt Gox Update

Mt Gox set to liquidate as court denies rehabilitation.  Full Article 

New Culture

New Culture

New CEO Nadella pushes data culture at Microsoft.  Full Article 

Upbeat on S5

Upbeat on S5

Samsung executive says Galaxy S5 to outsell S4, sees Q2 rollout for Tizen phone.  Full Article 

Mobile Safety

Mobile Safety

Smartphone makers, carriers embrace anti-theft initiative.  Full Article 

Bitcoin Saga

Bitcoin Saga

Defunct bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox files for liquidation - WSJ.  Full Article 

Yahoo Result

Yahoo Result

Yahoo's growth anemic as turnaround chugs along.  Full Article 

Tech Acquisition

Tech Acquisition

Twitter buys social data provider Gnip, stock soars.  Full Article 

Leave Steve Out

Leave Steve Out

Keep Steve Jobs' personality out of trial - tech companies.  Full Article 

Beating Estimate

Beating Estimate

Intel's first-quarter net profit falls but beats Street.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage