When the editors at The New York Times delivered the well-reported piece exposing the extreme wealth of China’s prime minister, they probably weren’t that surprised when China blocked the online version of the piece. However, since then, hackers in China have been infiltrating the Times’ computers, gathering emails and passwords. This is a high tech spy story for the ages.
During the digital attack, the hackers installed malicious maleware that allowed them to gain entry to any Times computer. The hackers stole every Times employee corporate password and used this inforamtion to gain access to 53 personal computers. The Times says no customer information was accessed. The hackers tried to hide what they were doing, but the Times caught on:
The hackers tried to cloak the source of the attacks on The Times by first penetrating computers at United States universities and routing the attacks through them, said computer security experts at Mandiant, the company hired by The Times. This matches the subterfuge used in many other attacks that Mandiant has tracked to China.
After learning of the attack, the Times’ experts watched the hackers movements to better learn how to beat them. The Times says that as of now, the hackers and the maleware have been expelled from their computer systems and all is well. But for how long?