Google Leaving China After Cyber Attack?

January 12, 2010 by Ixia Blog Team

News just came out about Google contemplating packing up and leaving China all together due to recent cyber attacks. In a blog post on their site, "A new approach to China", Google states that back in mid-December they detected a "highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China" and that the attack resulted in "the theft of intellectual property from Google."

The blog post dives into more specifics the Google uncovered about the attacks:

"First, this attack was not just on Google. As part of our investigation we have discovered that at least twenty other large companies from a wide range of businesses--including the Internet, finance, technology, media and chemical sectors--have been similarly targeted. We are currently in the process of notifying those companies, and we are also working with the relevant U.S. authorities.

Second, we have evidence to suggest that a primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists..."

The blog post goes on to describe how Google also has evidence that Gmail accounts of human rights activists inside and outside of China have been accessed routinely by third parties. Notably, though, Google has already used the information they have gained from these attacks to "...make infrastructure and architectural improvements that enhance security for Google and for our users."

This last part, of course, hit home with what we talk about here on this blog. Real-world simulation of cyber attacks is one of the most important tools in finding the weak spots in your cyber infrastructure. Obviously this is only the beginning of this story and we will be keeping track of and commenting on the news as it continues.