NYT claims Chinese hackers targeted its systems
New York: The New York Times has revealed that over the last four months, it has been repeatedly attacked by Chinese hackers, trying to infiltrate its computer systems and get passwords for its reporters and other employees.
The timing of the attacks coincided with the reporting for a Times investigation, published online on October 25, that found that the relatives of Wen Jiabao, China's prime minister, had accumulated a fortune worth several billion dollars through business dealings.
According to the New York Times, security experts hired by them to detect and block the computer attacks gathered digital evidence that Chinese hackers, using methods that some consultants have associated with the Chinese military in the past, breached The Times's network.
They broke into the e-mail accounts of its Shanghai bureau chief, David Barboza, who wrote the reports on Wen's relatives, and Jim Yardley, The Times's South Asia bureau chief in India , who previously worked as bureau chief in Beijing, the paper said.
According to security experts, the attackers first installed malware that enabled them to gain entry to any computer on The Times's network.
The malware was identified by computer security experts as a specific strain associated with computer attacks originating in China.
According to the paper, security experts found evidence that the hackers stole the corporate passwords for every Times employee and used those to gain access to the personal computers of 53 employees, most of them outside The Times's newsroom.
Experts found no evidence that the intruders used the passwords to seek information that was not related to the reporting on the Wen family, the paper added.