Chinese Hackers Attack The New York Times

The New York Times revealed that it had a cyber security breach. For 4 months Chinese hackers infiltrated The New York Times and gained access to its internal systems.

The malware and computers used were the same as those used by the Chinese military in the past. However, this does not indicate a more widespread cyber attack. The infiltration of The New York Times seems to be a result of a story the paper published in October 2012. The story revealed the immense wealth of Wen Jiabao, the prime minister of China. The expose was a serious hit to Jiabao’s reputation. The only information the hackers seemed to have looked for was related to this story.

The New York Times and its Chinese-language site were both blocked after the article came out. One day after the article came out the hackers began their infiltration.

In the aftermath of the story some of The New York Times’ reporters were forced to leave China. The Chinese government did not renew the visas of these foreign correspondents, and the credentials of other journalists remain pending.

For its part, the Chinese Government has denied any role in this incident (as well as any other cyber-crime).

How important is an open internet, free from government censure or restriction? Should any government infiltrate a news agency if its content is politically subversive? For that matter, should any government monitor, attack or otherwise manipulate people or institutions online? How should American journalists, media conglomerates, and government respond to increasing online threats?

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One Comment on “Chinese Hackers Attack The New York Times”

  1. alibleakley says:

    In the United States, an open Internet free from government censure is likened to the First Amendment. The Internet encompasses freedom of expression and freedom of the press, both of which are important cultural values in the United States. However, in China, where people have never experienced this type of online freedom, an open Internet isn’t coveted. These differing values don’t justify China’s infiltration into the New York Times website, nor do I believe that the government has the right to manipulate institutions online that are run in a foreign country. In a way, this is violating a nation’s sovereignty. Responding to these threats can’t be done using technology. There will always be hackers that can infiltrate online security blocks. That is why I believe that international legislation and discussion is the only way to lessen these threats. If an agreement to not infiltrate is bound in a treaty, people like the hackers from China would have to face repercussions for their actions.


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