China denies Google cyber spying allegations

Following a recent allegation by Google on Wednesday stating that Chinese forces were behind a cyber spying campaign that targeted Gmail accounts of senior officials and activists, the Chinese government has rejected these claims and suggested “ulterior motives” have fuelled these accusations.

Asserting that it was unacceptable to blame Beijing for the recent events, a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, Hong Lei, said: “Hacking attacks are an international issue. China is also a victim. The so-called statement that the Chinese government supports hacking attacks is a total fabrication out of nothing. It has ulterior motives.”

The situation arose when it was alleged that Chinese hackers stole Gmail login details of hundreds of top US and South Korean officials, journalists, military personnel and Chinese political activists in what is not the first standoff between the world’s largest search engine and a country reputed for its censoring powers. However, Google has not directly blamed the Chinese government, but has stated that the hacking originated in Jinan – suspected to be a hub of cyber espionage in the country. The company has also warned about a “phishing scam” and alerted its users over it in a public statement.

Google security team engineering director, Eric Grosse, had earlier blogged: “We recently uncovered a campaign to collect user passwords, likely through phishing. The goal of this effort seems to have been to monitor the contents of these users’ emails, with the perpetrators apparently using stolen passwords to change peoples’ forwarding and delegation settings.

“Google detected and has disrupted this campaign to take users’ passwords and monitor their emails. We have notified victims and secured their accounts. In addition, we have notified relevant government authorities.”

There have been reports that the While House has been investigating these allegations but did not believe that US officials had had their personal email accounts breached, according to news service AFP.

Despite China’s denials, this incident of cyber-attacks has heightened tensions between US, UK and China. Cyber-attacks remain a very real threat and as the world progresses, hi-tech software allows for sophisticated cyber warfare that could be fatal without the use of a single bullet.