Tech

Cyber Attack on U.S. Firms, Google Traced to China

Award winning Chinese blogger Tiger Temple, or Zhang Shihe, a critic of China's internet censorship, is seen with a webpage with the Chinese words "Google considers leaving the Chinese market" in his home in Beijing, Tuesday, March 23, 2010. Google Inc. stopped censoring the Internet for China by shifting its search engine off the mainland Monday but said it will maintain other operations in the country. (AP Photo/ Gemunu Amarasinghe)

Award winning Chinese blogger Tiger Temple, or Zhang Shihe, a critic of China's internet censorship, is seen with a webpage with the Chinese words "Google considers leaving the Chinese market" in his home in Beijing, Tuesday, March 23, 2010. Google Inc. stopped censoring the Internet for China by shifting its search engine off the mainland Monday but said it will maintain other operations in the country. (AP Photo/ Gemunu Amarasinghe)  (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

The cyber attack on Google and other U.S. companies was part of a suspected Chinese government operation launched last year that used human intelligence techniques and high-technology to steal corporate secrets, U.S. government and private-sector cybersecurity specialists told The Washington Times.

More worrying is the likelihood that the cyber attacks that led Google this week to end its cooperation with Beijing-controlled censorship and move its search engine service to Hong Kong included planting undetectable software on American company networks that could allow further clandestine access or even total control of computers in the future.

An Obama administration official said the U.S. government was able, with some confidence, to link the attack, first discovered last summer, to Chinese government organs. However, the official declined to provide details to avoid making future Chinese cyber-attack identification more difficult.

"The attack was very targeted. It targeted engineers and quality assurance developers, people with very high levels of access into the organization," said George Kurtz, chief technology officer for computer security firm McAfee who investigated the attack for several of the affected companies.

"The infections were actually very few," he said. "It wasn't like a mass infection across a large organization. It was very targeted."

Continue reading at The Washington Times