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A string of highly sophisticated cyber attacks have been launched on the Gmail accounts of a number of Chinese activists as well as US and South Korean government officials. Suspicions have been raised about the Chinese government’s involvement because of the nature of the targets and the lack of any apparent financial motive. The government has denied the allegations. The White House is currently investigating the situation alongside representatives from Google.
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In a report yesterday by the New York Times(NYT), an anonymous source identified some of the information stolen in the December cyberattack on Google. The hacks prompted the company’s withdrawal from the Chinese market. Google has only specified that “intellectual property” was compromised in the attack, but the NYT claims its sources have confirmed that a password programme called Gaia, which allowed Google employees and other users access to a range of its web services, was one of the targets. No personal Gmail passwords or account details were breached, but the attack revealed vulnerabilities within Google’s own security system. To date, Google has refused to commented on the situation. US Foreign Secretary Hillary Clinton has called for a “transparent” Chinese inquiry into the incident.