Hackers had penetrated the newspaper’s computer network and were able to take full control of some computers. According to its own report, the "wall street journal" has been the target of hackers from china for several years. The chinese hackers apparently wanted to monitor the newspaper’s coverage of china, the world-famous business daily wrote in its friday edition.
The newspaper that belongs to the news corp. Heard by rupert murdoch, sees in the attacks a widespread phenomenon. Other major media are also affected, such as the financial news specialists bloomberg and thomson reuters. The federal bureau of investigation has been investigating the matter for more than a year, it said, citing people familiar with the matter. The FBI is even considering classifying the case as a threat to national security.
The attacks could put whistleblowers in danger and make reporting much more difficult, the newspaper fears. The most recent attack took place in the middle of last year and was discovered by the FBI. One of the gateways for the hackers was the office of the newspaper in beijing, from which they had gained access to the entire network.
The "wall street journal" – like the "new york times" – first let the attackers guard and observe what exactly they were looking for and how far they had already penetrated. Some computers had been completely under control of the hackers.
According to the "wall street journal", among the targets of the hackers were the employees of the office in beijing, including jeremy page, who had reported on the poisoning of the british businessman neil heywood. The scandal had brought down top politician bo xilai, whose wife was convicted of the crime. Also the head of the newspaper, andrew browne, had been spied on.
Publisher spokeswoman paula keve explained that data security is an "existing problem". The publishing house is working with the authorities and external security companies to protect readers, employees and sources. The computer network has been upgraded in terms of security. According to initial findings, the intruders were not after customer data.
Even at the "new york times", the hackers were probably only interested in the journalists’ reporting and not in the readers’ credit card data. According to the paper, the passwords of all employees had been stolen. The attackers had then gained access to the computers of 53 employees.
At the time of the attack in autumn, the prestigious newspaper was working on a report about the family fortune of chinese prime minister wen jiabao. The attackers were apparently only interested in information in this connection, wrote the "new york times" in its thursday edition. In the meantime, the computer network is secure again.
The financial news agency bloomberg had also reported a hacking attack from china last year – while working on a report about the wealth of the family of today’s party leader xi jinping. But the attackers could not get into the computer system.
In the U.S., there are repeated reports of chinese hackers attacking companies and government agencies, including the aerospace company lockheed martin, google and its email service gmail, the IT security specialist RSA, and the U.S. Chamber of commerce. Officials in china always reject the accusations, as in the case of "wall street journal" and "new york times.
Recently, attacks on the websites of U.S. Banks piled up, although these were interpreted more as revenge actions from iran for the international sanctions because of the nuclear program.