Both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times report that they are being probed by Chinese hackers, and are likely part of a larger scheme that includes last year's attack on Bloomberg. These hackers are supposedly sifting through news-gathering systems of outlets that are reporting on "touchy" subjects related to China.
"The attacks appear to be part of a broader computer espionage campaign against American news media companies that have reported on Chinese leaders and corporations," the Times states.
But it's just not a simple probing where the alleged hackers are merely reading the news. The New York Times claim they're actually hacking into the network and stealing passwords of high-profile reporters and other staff members. The "cyber assaults" have taken place over the last four months ever since the Times investigated Chinese premier Wen Jiabao.
The Times said that it has worked with computer security experts to monitor, study and "erect better defenses to block" the hackers. In turn, these security experts reportedly accumulated "digital evidence that Chinese hackers, using methods that some consultants have associated with the Chinese military in the past, breached The Times's network."
Naturally the Chinese Foreign Ministry denied any hacking attempts, saying that the allegations are "groundless, irresponsible accusations lacking solid proof or reliable research results." The Chinese Ministry of National Defense added that the country's military has never supported any hacker activities.
Meanwhile, the Journal also confirmed that its network had been hacked. "Evidence shows that infiltration efforts target the monitoring of the Journal's coverage of China, and are not an attempt to gain commercial advantage or to misappropriate customer information," stated parent company Dow Jones & Co.
The Journal also went on to note that attempts had been made to infiltrate Bloomberg's systems but the hackers were unable to breach the company's secured network. Reuters was also hacked twice back in August, but the news service was unable to confirm the source.
Unnamed sources said that the FBI has been investigating media hacking events for more than a year. The Bureau considers the hacking a national-security matter, believed to be part of a long-running pattern by a "foreign entity" to "compromise the security of major U.S. Companies." Evidence suggests that the hacking was conducted largely by one group focused on media companies. It's even been described as "a swarm of relatively unsophisticated but persistent attempts to gain access."