Google probing staff in China attack
Google is investigating whether its own employees helped facilitate a cyber-attack on its systems last December.
The search giant revealed last week that it may pull out of China after being hit by a “sophisticated” cyber-attack on its network that resulted in theft of its intellectual property.
Sources familiar with the situation claim the attack, which targeted people who have access to specific parts of Google networks, may have been facilitated by people working in Google China’s office.
Local media, citing unnamed sources, reported that some Google China employees were denied access to internal networks after 13 January, while some staff were put on leave and others transferred to different offices in Google’s Asia Pacific operations. Google said it would not comment on its business operations.
Sources claim the attack may have been facilitated by people working in Google China’s office
“We’re not commenting on rumour and speculation. This is an ongoing investigation, and we simply cannot comment on the details,” says a Google spokeswoman.
Google is still in the process of scanning its internal networks since the cyber-attack in mid-December.
China has tried to play down Google’s threat to leave, saying there are many ways to resolve the issue, but insisting all foreign companies, Google included, must abide by Chinese laws.
The Google issue risks becoming another irritant in China’s relationship with the US. Ties are already strained by arguments over the yuan currency’s exchange rate – which US critics say is unfairly low – trade protectionism and US arms sales to Taiwan.
Now, Washington says it will issue a diplomatic note to China, formally requesting an explanation for the attacks.
Washington has long been worried about Beijing’s cyber-spying program. A congressional advisory panel said in November the Chinese government appeared increasingly to be penetrating U.S. computers to gather useful data for its military.