Chinese hackers who successfully cracked into Google’s servers in 2009 were able to steal highly classified information concerning U.S. surveillance targets. These recent revelations, which are coming from former and current government security officials, claim the hacker’s goals were to find the names of Chinese spies being monitored through their personal G-mail accounts.
In mid-2009 through January 2010, Google along with numerous other corporations around the United States suffered a heavy attack from hackers originating out of China. Later named “Operation Aurora”, the attacks, which were first revealed by Google in January 2010, was mostly forgotten by the general public. Recent revelations now suggest that the intrusion was far more significant than previously believed, and the hackers were able to obtain a lot of highly classified information.
A lot of the information the hackers were able to get was in direct connection to their own operatives working inside the U.S. The database that was infiltrated had information pertaining to court ordered warrants giving the authorization for surveillance on supposed Chinese agents who had active Gmail accounts.
Google publicly announced the cyber-attacks on their servers back in January 2010 on their official blog. In the posting Google claimed they had good evidence suggesting that the goal of the attackers was in trying to access the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists.
Since the Chinese were able to see whom federal agents were monitoring, it would have given them the opportunity to feed fake information to their operatives and throw off the investigation.
Google has not made any public notice about these new revelations concerning the hacking incident into their servers in 2009 as of yet.
For over a decade now many major defense contractors and energy labs have known about cyber-espionage originating out of China. Also, early this year the security firm Mandiant along with the Pentagon both stated that some Chinese PLA units were behind a good number of the cyber-attacks on major U.S. servers. Gen. Keith B. Alexander, who serves as the director of the NSA, referred to the theft of U.S. proprietary data as the “greatest transfer of wealth in history.”
Chinese officials have continually denied any orchestrated attacks from their government on the U.S. In turn China has accused the U.S. of breaking into their own computer networks.
Source: The Washington Post