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Wall Street Journal: Chinese Hackers Hit Us Too

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

Another of America’s biggest media organisations claims it was infiltrated by Chinese hackers

The publisher of the Wall Street Journal claimed it has been hit by cyber attacks emanating from China, just a day after the New York Times reported attacks by Chinese hackers.

Dow Jones & Co said the company’s systems had been compromised to monitor its coverage of China. Bloomberg has claimed it was also a victim of hacks from China.

chinawall234The New York Times said earlier this week it was the victim of a four-month long cyber attack emanating from China, following a Times investigation into Chinese corruption. Web accounts of New York Times journalists looking into business deals and wealth of senior Chinese officials were compromised, the paper said.

The Wall Street Journal faced attacks over the last few years, according to people familiar with the matter. The most recent incident was in the middle of last year, when the FBI discovered Wall Street Journal data outside of the paper’s servers from its Beijing bureau.

Wall Street Journal hacked

People familiar with the investigation suggested hackers infiltrated the Beijing office before hacking into global systems. “Evidence shows that infiltration efforts target the monitoring of the Journal’s coverage of China and are not an attempt to gain commercial advantage or to misappropriate customer information,” said Paula Keve, a spokeswoman for Journal publisher Dow Jones.

It is believed US media bodies have been hit hard by Chinese hackers, even though officials from the country strongly deny the allegations.

The FBI has been investigating hacking of American media organisations for over a year, considering it a matter of national security.

Evidence has suggested just one group is behind the attacks, according to people familiar with the matter.

“It is irresponsible to make such an allegation without solid proof and evidence,” said Chinese Embassy spokesman Geng Shuang, responding to the Wall Street Journal claims. “The Chinese government prohibits cyber attacks and has done what it can to combat such activities in accordance with Chinese laws.”

Yet as China issues its staunch denials, security professionals believe the attacks on US media do emanate from the Asian nation, even though it could prove difficult to prove attribution.

“I believe the attack against New York Times did genuinely come from China as a reaction to their reporting. It might be impossible to prove that, though,” Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at F-Secure, told TechWeekEurope.

Often fingers have pointed at China after machines have b een  compromised. Google blamed the nation after hacks hit its infrastructure, and systems belonging to numerous other US corporations, in 2010, whilst some suspected China was behind attacks on EMC-owned RSA back in 2011.

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