China warns Google over attack claims: Does it matter though?

China warns Google over attack claims: Does it matter though?

Summary: The China People's Daily reportedly warned that Google's disclosure could hurt business and create tensions with the U.S.

SHARE:

Google once again has become a diplomatic hot potato after the search giant disclosed that it fended off an attack to steal hundreds of email account holders, including U.S. government officials and Chinese human rights advocates.

The China People's Daily reportedly warned that Google's disclosure could hurt business and create tensions with the U.S. Reuters reported that the paper said: "Google should not become overly embroiled in international political struggle, playing the role of a tool for political contention."

However, the English version didn't have the editorial and the translation of the Chinese paper---via Google Translate---didn't turn up much. There is an opinion on China cyberdiplomacy.

If you zoom out a bit though, Google will continue to be in the middle of this political banter over cybersecurity. Why? Google doesn't have much to lose. After its first dustup with Google over cybersecurity, it's fairly clear where business in China is headed.

Last week, Google disclosed the attacks and the following line got the Chinese government wound up.

This campaign, which appears to originate from Jinan, China, affected what seem to be the personal Gmail accounts of hundreds of users including, among others, senior U.S. government officials, Chinese political activists, officials in several Asian countries (predominantly South Korea), military personnel and journalists.

The goal of this effort seems to have been to monitor the contents of these users’ emails, with the perpetrators apparently using stolen passwords to change peoples’ forwarding and delegation settings.

The line for Google to walk is revealing what it can be sure is an attack related to the Chinese government vs. just using the country as a cybersecurity crutch.

Given the business relations with the Chinese, Google may the the only company that can tell the real deal.

Indeed, Trend Micro noted that Hotmail and Yahoo Mail were also targeted. Trend Micro said:

The objective of the attackers appears to be to gain access to the target’s Webmail accounts in order to monitor his/her communications and, possibly, to stage future attacks. In the recent case revealed by Google, the attackers used a phishing attack to gain access to the target’s Gmail account then proceeded to add their own email addresses to the “forwarding and delegation settings,” allowing them to send and receive email messages via the compromised accounts.

The difference with Google and other companies is business relations. It would be simply stupid to prod the Chinese government if you have hopes of doing business there. That's the game. Google's business in China is toast---or getting there---so there's nothing to lose in disclosure (and perhaps a lot to gain).

Related:

Topics: China, Browser, Collaboration, Google, Security

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

35 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: China warns Google over attack claims: Does it matter though?

    It really is time to reconsider our relationship with China and make serious efforts to move a lot of that business back to the USA!
    slickjim
    • It's way overdue

      @Peter Perry Enough Chinese slave labour already! It's the freeloading corporations that are to blame.
      happyharry_z
      • RE: China warns Google over attack claims: Does it matter though?

        ...and don't forget to spread some of that blame to consumers who are willing to drive mom-and-pop stores out of business so they can save a buck. Responsibility rests on all of us. Prices will go up so be prepared to put your money where your mouth is.
        MarkBieschke
      • Message has been deleted.

        frvr@...
      • RE: China warns Google over attack claims: Does it matter though?

        @happyharry_z
        I agree with MarkBieschke, but price isn't the only important point. Am I the only one irritated with the inferior quality of Chinese "cheap" products? I'd gladly pay twice the price for something that will last! In a quality war, the rest of the world wins.
        Bit-Smacker
      • RE: China warns Google over attack claims: Does it matter though?

        @BitSmacker,

        Totally agree...I would pay more for merchandise that lasts longer. And if it's made in the USA, that's also a plus because it that much less of my money that goes to pay for all the unemployed people. And this is not an anti-Chinese position, but rather a pro-USA one.

        gary
        gdstark13
      • RE: China warns Google over attack claims: Does it matter though?

        @frvr
        Normally I am a great adherent to "Dont feed the trolls" but I could not let this pass... "Communist nips"?! Really, using a pejorative term for the Japanese to refer to the Chinese government. It does not add any weight to your contribution to the world.
        carrjm
      • RE: China warns Google over attack claims: Does it matter though?

        @happyharry_z

        It's always the big bad corporations...

        You know... those guys who employ us... err, are out to take our money and send their CEO's on a dream-cation...

        Enough of the reterec already... save that for the union ralleys aimed at protecting our schools and saving our women and children...

        I'll tell you what... the complaining stops where it starts... tired of China? Tell your politicians enough is enough... reach in your pockets and pay more for American, and it will be more, not necessarily better.

        I am all for buying American, and there are quality American goods. Of course this means you can't necessarily keep up with your neighbors if your money is saving the County, not going farther...

        Watch closely, and you will see that this Country is being sold out to China, and it is the consumers/voters that are moving us there, not a handful of people running the big bad corporations, you know, those companies that employ us (that and the government with the get paid for doing nothing programs that the rest of us fund).

        The mirror is a powerful tool; in it you will see the first person who needs to start leading by example... We all have this tool, or access to one, and we all have someone stariing back at us who can help...

        next...

        -mark
        thatwindowsuserguy
      • It's a structural/legal problem

        @ happyharry_z<br><br>You can't really blame consumers or even corporations. The problem is that the US system makes corporations solely accountable to shareholders seeking the highest short-run profits. Firms that move manufacturing to China are just playing the optimal strategy under the rules set up by the neoliberal US politicians. If you want to change the outcome, you've got to vote for politicians who will change the system.<br><br>A counter-example to the US is Germany, where co-determination means that corporations are accountable to multiple stakeholders. This includes the shareholders and the employees, represented on the supervisory boards by trade unions. I think this has an important impact on corporate behaviour. Corporations still relocate manufacturing to some degree, especially when it's a requirement for access to foreign markets (as it often is in China), but when I look at the products I use, from pens and paper to computers and cars, most of them are still made in Germany.
        WilErz
      • RE: China warns Google over attack claims: Does it matter though?

        @frvr@-- You sound like an albino monkey,aka a low-iq honkie.
        para82
      • RE: China warns Google over attack claims: Does it matter though?

        @BitSmacker, I have to disagree. The fact is that I have NOT seen lesser quality things from China. In fact, the quality between Chinese-made and American-made is so similar as to not make the American-made thing worth the added price.

        The metals are the same, the plastics are the same, the solders are the same.... need I keep on going?
        Lerianis10
    • RE: China warns Google over attack claims: Does it matter though?

      @Peter Perry Actually, it was time to do that long ago. Now it is HIGH time.
      mejohnsn
    • Right on

      @Peter Perry Well said, and we need to prod our legislators to level the playing field, and vote with our feet when it comes to retail purchases. I, for one, do not shop at WalMart--and I wistfully remember their old, old "Made in the USA" ad campaigns. Now we are seeing the consequences of their sourcing decisions...
      frabjous
  • The hack came from China

    The way for China to placate this is to help catch the phishers that originated from their territory.

    If they're going to do the bluster and nonsense then it simply confirms that it was a government hack. Instead of "of course it wasn't a government attack, we're working with Google to locate the phisher..." We have "gee, we confess, how dare you catch us, you started it!"

    What I'd like is a warning when a link in an email goes to a Chinese site. I know there are Chinese sites that are real businesses selling real services, but this kind of attitude means I don't trust them.

    IMHO, I also want and end to manufacturing of logon tokens in China. Again, the Chinese authorities don't seem to want to catch these phishers, hence basic common sense means you can't ensure there aren't duplicates of all tokens.
    guihombre
    • RE: China warns Google over attack claims: Does it matter though?

      @guihombre Well said sir.... Like you said this would be a non-story if they just said "We are trying to locate the Hacker's" But no all they said was they are pissed at Google for saying such a thing. I wouldn't trust china with as as far as I could throw Wen Jiabao. I think they think they are untouchable because of how much we owe them and how much we depend on there labor. But that willl all bite them in the @$$ one day prob not this year or next but one day.
      nickitnite
  • RE: China warns Google over attack claims: Does it matter though?

    China also invades Philippine waters in Kalayaan Islands!
    oldtechdudze
    • RE: China warns Google over attack claims: Does it matter though?

      @oldtechdudze That's modern china for you. Talk about peace, but keep up the truculent, arrogant acts.
      mejohnsn
      • RE: China warns Google over attack claims: Does it matter though?

        @mejohnsn If you are an American citizen then tell me you're not being naive about the behaviour of your own CIA...
        alfielee@...
  • RE: China warns Google over attack claims: Does it matter though?

    MacArthur was right!
    Tommy S.
    • RE: China warns Google over attack claims: Does it matter though?

      @Tommy S. same to you, if you are an American citizen then tell me you're not being naive about the behaviour of your own CIA...
      alfielee@...