FBI Launches Investigation Into Chinese Attack on Gmail

Added by on June 4, 2011

Chinese computer hackers are suspected of having broken into Google’s email system and the FBI has launched an investigation into the allegations, says the Obama administration.

Although no government email accounts appear to have been compromised, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, told media that “These allegations are very serious… We are looking into them.”

According to Google, several hundred personal Gmail accounts of senior US government officials, military personnel and political activists were hacked into on Wednesday.

A Google investigation has traced the origin of the cyber attack to Jinan, China, where a military vocational school is based, whose computers have previously been linked to a more sophisticated attack on Google’s systems some 17 months ago. However, according to Google, there is no reason to believe that the attacks are linked.

Clinton did not comment on allegations claiming that China is involved in the assault.

China has responded to the attack by denying it supports hacking. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei  told media that hacking is a global problem that China is not immune to, and that the country is part of efforts to combat computer security threats.

“Allegations that the Chinese government supports hacking activities are completely unfounded and made with ulterior motives,” Hong said.

A White House spokesman, Jay Carney, said that although the Obama administration does instruct workers to use only government email accounts for official business, he said there are no restrictions on using a personal Gmail email account.

Carney did not comment on who may have been affected by the hacking, and the Pentagon said they had little information on the attack since it involved personal rather than government email accounts.

Those affected by the hacking have been notified and their accounts secured.

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