Google probes inside job in hackings: report

09:19, January 19, 2010      

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By Song Shengxia

Days after threatening to exit the Chinese market after being hit by what it called a sophisticated cyber attack on its network originating from China, Google claimed to be probing whether its employees may have helped facilitate the attack, Reuters reported Monday.

Two sources close to the situation told Reuters that the attack, which targeted private Gmail accounts used by Chinese activists, may have been facilitated by employees at Google China's head-quarters.

No confirmation was available from Google, though, as the news agency quoted a spokeswoman as saying, "We're not commenting on rumors and speculation. This is an ongoing investigation, and we simply cannot comment on the details."

The Google drama began last month when its engineers in Silicon Valley began to suspect Chinese hackers were breaking down Gmail accounts of its Chinese users. Though unable to identify the hackers, Google suggested that the operation was masterminded by Chinese government agencies, based on what it called "the sophistication of the attacks."

A report last week quoted anonymous sources as saying that some Google China employees were denied access to the company server and the global database, some were transferred to Hong Kong, and some were put on long, paid vacations.

The latest development, like Google's threat of a pullout last week, has prompted a slew of questions by people speculating on what's actually going on at the world's largest online-search company.

Li Zhi, a senior analyst with Analysys International, a leading market research firm, told the Global Times that the latest development appeared to be Google's last-ditch effort to keep a grip on China's huge Internet market.

"Google's decision to withdraw from China was hasty," she said. "Reuters' report seems like a PR stunt by Google to manage the crisis. The company has realized how important China's market is. It has worked hard to find a reason not to say goodbye to China."

Three days after threatening to withdraw from China, the company seemingly reversed its attitude.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt told Newsweek on Friday that "we had come to the conclusion that operating in China was better for everyone – us, the Chinese people – than staying out of the country."

Source:Global Times

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