The New York Times Company (NYSE:NYT) reported that some Chinese hackers have attacked the New York Times' computer system repeatedly, ever since the newspaper published a detailed report about the Chinese premier. The hackers are believed to have connections with Chinese military. The New York Times Company (NYSE:NYT) covered a detailed report on Chinese prime minister, exposing enormous wealth accumulated by the family of premier Wen Jiabao.
The newspaper sees the attack on its systems as retaliation for the stories it ran against the Chinese Prime minister. The hackers reportedly stole the corporate password of every Times employee. The hackers also broke into the computers of 53 employees and spied on them. These activities gained momentum once the story of Mr Wen Jaibao was published in the month of October last year. As per the newspaper, the hackers were searching for information on the sources and contacts for the story.
Times hired security firm, Mandiant, to get more information about the hands behind cyberattack. The methods applied by these hackers were similar to those used by the Chinese military in the past. These methods incorporate routing attacks through U.S. Univesity computers, continuously changing IP address, using e-mail malware to enter in to the computer system and installing custom software to aim at a particular individual and documents.
The newspaper worked in close association with telecommunication company AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) and the FBI to nail the hackers only after the AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) came across the doubtful activities on the paper's computer network on 25th October, one day after the article about Wen Jiabao was published.
Western journalists have constantly been under the radar of Chinese hackers since 2008 as a part of a campaign to stop stories, which could have an adverse effect on the leaderships' reputation in the homeland as well as globally, from being published. Bloomberg was also targeted by the cyber attackers after it published a report on the vast wealth of incoming president Xi Jinping's family in the summer last year.
China's ministry of defense, however, told The New York Times Company (NYSE:NYT) that the law in China prohibits Cyber Crimes including hacking that damages internet security. The China ministry further went on to say that the allegations by the New York Times on Chinese military lacks solid proof, is unprofessional and baseless.
Governments using cyberattacks against rival countries' media is not unusual. In March Last year, Iran led an attack on UK’s BBC news. Earlier this month, the US government accused Iran of massive cyberattacks on U.S. banks. Even the U.S allegedly carried out a cyberattack on Iranian power plants, oil companies, and nuclear facilities with three viruses called Flame, Stuxnet, and Duqu.