Report: China hackers stole key Google program

Google lost a password system when intruders stole key information last December
Among the losses Google sustained when intruders stole computer information in December was a company treasure: a password system, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

(AP) -- Computer hackers stole a program that controlled access to most of Google Inc.'s services when they attacked the Internet company late last year, according to a report published late Monday.

The story in The New York Times provided more details about an intrusion that provoked a politically charged showdown between and China's government over Internet censorship and computer security.

The Times said it obtained the information from an unnamed person with direct knowledge of the investigation into the break-in that Google has traced to China.

Google declined to comment specifically on the Times' story. A spokeswoman reiterated Google's previous assertions that the attacks on the company didn't obtain any personal information from its users' accounts.

The stolen password system was called Gaia, a reference to the Greek goddess of earth, according to the Times. Besides e-mail, Gaia also governed access to the online services that Google sells to businesses, government agencies and schools.

Without providing specifics, Google acknowledged some of its intellectual property had been stolen when it announced the hacking attacks in January. The heist prompted Google to tighten its .

At least 20 other companies were targeted in similar attacks, according to Google.

The breach incensed Google so much that the company decided to protest the country's laws dictating the censorship of results deemed to be subversive or pornographic by the government. Google started censoring in China four years ago when it set up a search engine inside of the country to gain better access to the world's largest Web audience.

After unsuccessfully trying to negotiate a compromise with China's ruling party, Google last month began to shift search requests from mainland China to Hong Kong, where online censorship isn't required.

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User comments

Apr 20, 2010
China has declared war on America.

Apr 20, 2010
So, now, stealing passwords = war agression? LOL

Apr 20, 2010
Censorship...great way of deluding your people's minds and controlling them.

Apr 20, 2010
no it doesn't but china has in the past year stated that they were upping their cyber warfare units - and to be honest the best target is the USA -- it you want to steal something then you are going to go looking for something of value and thats is the US and Eurounion

Apr 20, 2010
So, now, stealing passwords = war agression? LOL

I guess stealing keys to someone else daughter's condo is no big deal, and the parents concerned will just laughing out loud and that's that.

Apr 20, 2010
Besides- who knows what groups were the beneficiaries of the info theft?

Just because the attack apparently originated in China does not mean that the people responsible were necessarily solely representing Chinese interests, or even necessarily "criminal" ones.

Makes one wonder.

Always nice to have backdoor-entry capability,
when one desires to circumvent the Law.

Apr 20, 2010
There are trivial things, and important things. A ton of sand, and the key to your car.

Size isn't the metric.

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