Numerous media outlets have been hacked by Chinese hackers. For years, Chinese hackers have been trying to infiltrate the U.S. media. In some instances, these hackers have succeeded. This morning, media throughout the United States discovered that email accounts and websites had been hacked. Chinese hackers claim that the hacks were set in place to protect China. Seemingly, these hackers were looking for information that the U.S. media was about to release regarding China.
An email hack can happen to anyone. Journalists covering international affairs were especially good targets for the Chines hackers, since these journalists often sent information about upcoming stories to other media outlets and journalist contacts. While China can’t stop U.S. media from reporting on stories happening throughout the country, anyone sending sensitive information via email can stop hackers from gathering this data.
If you do work in the journalist field, or any other information sensitive field, it’s a good idea not to send any important information via email. If that’s not possible, the best way to prevent an attack is to change your email password regularly. Further, you can send important files through a password-protected program or by using password encryption. This might not prevent some seriously determined Chinese hackers from tapping into your email, but most people do not have a team of hackers on their case.
Interestingly, some media sites were successfully hacked (like the WSJ) and some weren’t. Bloomberg, for instance, reported this morning that someone made numerous attempts to hack into the company’s website, but those attempts were not successful. The difference here is the type of security system that each company has set up.
Bloomberg’s web security was far better protected that the WSJ’s. The lesson that can be learned here is to make sure your site is adequately protected. While not everyone has Bloomberg’s budget, it is possible to protect any site against hacks by going through the right steps (including Internet security measures).
Ready, Set, Aim!
United States-based Internet security groups have been watching Chinese hackers for some time. At least one group of hackers has been focusing on U.S. media for a long while. Whole campaigns are launched amidst Chinese hackers to attack U.S. media groups and individual journalists. While there’s little that U.S watchdogs can do to prevent these attacks, companies like Bloomberg are taking the right steps.
These attacks have done little to stop U.S. media from reporting on Chinese affairs. The Chinese Government has weighed in on the matter condemning the attacks, though it is well known that this particular government does not approve of news concerning China from outside sources. After all, China’s citizens are completely shut off from most of the information on the Internet and from various media sources.
These attacks are not the first of their kind, and they most certainly will not be the last. Protect your email, do not send sensitive files via email, use encryption services, and make sure your system and site security is up to date. Will Chinese hackers aim for your information? Probably not; but it’s always a good idea to be on the defense.