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Chinese hack NYTimes

The New York Times said on Thursday (January 31) that Chinese hackers had "persistently" attacked its computers over the past four months since the paper published a story on Premier Wen Jiabao, but sensitive material related to the report was not accessed. The New York Times said the attacks coincided with its report last October that Wen's family had accumulated at least $2.7 billion (USD) in "hidden riches". China said at the time the report smeared its name and had ulterior motives. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MARC FRONS, CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER OF THE NEW YORK TIMES COMPANY, SAYING: "So last October we knew we were running an article about the finances of the Chinese ruling family and we suspected that because we had been told by China that there would be "consequences" to our actions if we went ahead and published this story that they could do any number of things. And one of them might be hacking into our systems. So we asked AT&T who does network monitoring for us to raise the sensitivity thresholds of their instruments so that they could pick up more activity. And sure enough a day later they said you've got some unusual activity on your network. We think there might be something going on and we need to take a closer look. At that point we were pretty certain that there were some hackers in our network we didn't know exactly where they were coming from. We brought in the FBI and the FBI said as did AT&T that this had all the hallmarks of hacking by the Chinese military." The New York Times hired computer security experts at Mandiant and found that there were at least 40 hacker groups, called advanced persistent hacker units. Frons said the 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, the paper said.

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