Chinese Yahoo Attack Targets Journalists, Activists
By Stefanie Hoffman,
Mar. 31, 2010
Cyber hackers have targeted the Yahoo (NSDQ:YHOO) e-mail accounts of
journalists and activists who have previously written
about or been outspoken about China with a malicious
attack this week, following Google (NSDQ:GOOG)'s
announcement to move its search office out of the
Specifically, several journalists in both China and
Taiwan said that they were unable to access their Yahoo
accounts, in what appeared to be an orchestrated assault
starting March 25.
Yahoo e-mail service seemed to be restored Wednesday
after a five-day outage.
Altogether, those targeted in the Yahoo e-mail attack
included a U.S. law professor, an analyst who had
written about China's security and several print
journalists based in Beijing and Taipei, The New York
Also targeted in the attack were activist members of the
group World Uyghur Congress, which works to establish
greater autonomy for China's Xinjiang region, and had
accused China of provoking and inciting ethnic
separatism by ethnic Uyghurs in the Chinese region of
Xinjiang, according to Reuters.
A spokesperson for the World Uyghur Congress, said that
several e-mail messages disappeared from one of his
Yahoo accounts, while another account remains
inaccessible, he told The New York Times.
The attack occurred days after Google announced plans to
move its Chinese-language search services out of the
mainland to its satellite site in Hong Kong based on
escalating censorship concerns, fueling existing
tensions between China and the search engine giant.
Another freelance journalist, Kathleen McLaughlin, a
member of the board of the Foreign Correspondents Club
of China, told The New York Times that the group had
confirmed that the Yahoo accounts of 10 journalists,
including her own, had been targeted in the attack.
McLaughlin said that she too had received an alert from
Yahoo on March 25 notifying her that there was an issue
with her account.
While Yahoo has publicly stated that it condemns all
online cyber attacks, the search company has faced
previous criticism for complying with China's censorship
policies when it turned over data used by the Chinese
government to prosecute suspected dissidents in 2006.
Meanwhile, Google's plans to move out of mainland China
are another chapter in the ongoing saga of soured
relations with China. Tensions escalated to an all-time
high in January, when cyber attacks thought to be
sourced from China were launched on the networks of
Google and more than 30 other multinational companies in
an effort to lift intellectual property. Later that same
month, a round of cyber attacks targeted Gmail account