China calls Google's claims of a cyber attack "groundless"

China calls Google's claims of a cyber attack "groundless"

Summary: A Chinese official says that Google's claim of a cyber attack that originated in China is groundless.

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Just as Google and China are sitting down to talk again about hacking attacks, censorship and Google's future in China, a government official in Beijing publicly called out Google by calling its claims of a hacking attack "groundless."

Until now, the Chinese government had been somewhat cooperative with Google and the U.S. about the highly sophisticated hacking attack against Google and other companies last year. Government officials have publicly condemned hacking and even made some arrests to break up a hacking ring in China.

But those sacrificial arrests weren't enough to ease the concerns of Google or investigators in the U.S. They kept digging and digging and, this week, it was learned that the hacking attacks traced back to a prestigious university and a vocational school with ties to the government. Yesterday, the Financial Times reported that the U.S. analysts had identified the author of the hacking code as a 30-something freelance security consultant who doesn't really want to be involved in these sort of efforts but that his skill level has the attention of government officials who are "looking over his shoulder."

Now, all of the sudden, Google's claims are groundless. It appears that the Chinese government may have been feeling the pressure of being backed into a corner and had to come out swinging. At a news briefing in the Chinese capital, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said:

Google's statement from January 12 is groundless, and we are firmly opposed to it. China administers its internet according to law, and this position will not change. China prohibits hacking and will crack down on hacking according to law... Reports that these attacks came from Chinese schools are totally groundless and the accusation of Chinese government is also irresponsible and driven by ulterior motives.

For now, Google is still censoring search results on behalf of the government, as required by law, while company officials meet with Chinese officials to discuss next steps. But a statement like this from a government official gives us a hint at how those talks must be going.

If talks break down, it will be interesting to see if Google follows through with its threat to uncensor the Internet in China and, if need be, shutter its operations there. Clearly, it's a sensitive matter. Washington has backed Google's assertions and reaffirmed its support for a free Internet but all parties have agreed that this should not affect government relations between the two countries.

The ball may soon be back in Google's court. What's the next play?

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Topics: Security, Google, Government, Government US, China

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7 comments
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  • @Sam, why are you still here? I thought Trump fired you last week.

    nt
    D.T.Schmitz
  • RE: China calls Google's claims of a cyber attack

    Its so obvious that they were the ones who did it. Now that the truth comes out, all the sudden all the claims are groundless. The emails that were hacked and the data the was taken, was all from Chinese activists. Something that only the government would be interested in anyway.
    Jimster480
  • Time to sell Taiwan more missiles

    and start talking about a 25% revenue tariff on Chinese
    goods.
    HollywoodDog
  • Of course, China is a model of virtue and democracy

    .. NOT.

    It's a communist dictatorship where the government has its fingers in just about everything, and where Chinese companies are therefore agents of the Chinese political policy.
    croberts
    • They would never put underage gymnists in the Olympics

      so why would they have a school trying to hack International businesses?
      John Zern
  • True. Also, everything China does revolves around intellectual property

    China's business agreements are almost always geared to ensuring that some Chinese subcontractor (aka front company owned by the Chinese central government) obtains a transfer of technical knowledge.

    The stupidest thing companies like Boeing could have ever done was to partner with Chinese firms.

    I wonder if there was a Poll about trustworthiness, how high up the rest of the world would rank China?
    croberts
  • the world calls China's claims bulls**t

    Do they expect anybody to believe that?
    ca1ic0cat