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
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: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test