Chinese hackers 'attack New York Times computers'

 

The New York Times has claimed that it was victim of repeated attacks on its computer systems by Chinese hackers after it began an investigation into the business dealings of the Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.

The paper said the hacking attacks, which involved infiltrating its computers and obtaining the passwords of its reporters and other staff, coincided with its October investigation into Mr Wen having accumulated a fortune of several billion dollars through his business dealings.

The publisher brought in computer security experts which he said had uncovered hacking methods previously associated with the Chinese military. Among the individuals targeted was the New York Times Shanghai bureau chief David Barboza, who had written stories about Mr Wen’s relatives, and Jim Yardley, the paper’s former Beijing bureau chief, who had moved to a new post in India.

The paper claimed that its responses to the hacking had been successful. “After surreptitiously tracking the intruders to study their movements and help erect better defences to block them, the Times and computer experts have expelled the attackers and kept them from breaking back in,” it said in a report.

The hacking attack represents an early challenge for the former BBC Director General Mark Thompson, who took up his new role as chief executive and president of the New York Times in November.

Mandiant, a security firm hired by the publisher, found that the hackers had tried to disguise their origins by first targeting American university computers and directing their attacks on the newspaper from there. Chinese hackers had used a similar tactic of infiltrating university computers in previous attacks on the US military.

Malicious software (malware) was used to penetrate the New York Times system and gain access to the password of 53 employees. The paper said that it had found no evidence that the hackers had been attempting to access information other than that relating to its investigation into Mr Wen and it also claimed that sources on that project had not been compromised by the security breach.

Jim Abramson, executive editor of the New York Times, said: “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.”

The hackers are suspected of using a spear-phishing attack, in which targeted employees are sent emails containing a malicious link or attachment. By clicking on the e-mail, the employee immediately introduces a remote access tool (known as a RAT) onto their computer allowing every keystroke – and sometimes recording from the computer’s microphones and webcams - to be relayed to the attacker. Michael Higgins. Chief security officer at the New York Times, said: “Attackers no longer go after our firewall. They go after individuals. They send a malicious piece of code to your e-mail account and you’re opening it and letting them in.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Parts Advisor

£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading Mercedes-Ben...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Telemarketers / Sales - Home Based - OTE £23,500

£19500 - £23500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Experienced B2B Telemarketer wa...

Recruitment Genius: Showroom Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This global company are looking for two Showro...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor