Aspen Institute Hacked

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The Huffington Post's Gerry Smith reports that hackers apparently based in China recently monitored the e-mails of employees at the Aspen Institute for two months, before the FBI uncovered the breach.

"It was the second time the Washington-based Aspen Institute has been hacked in the past two years, according to Trent Nichols, its director of IT services. ... Nichols said in an interview Thursday that hackers stole the user names and passwords of three employees -- including president and chief executive Walter Isaacson -- and used the information to repeatedly log in to the institute's Web mail service," Smith writes.

"The hackers seem to think we knew something they wanted to know," Nichols told The Huffington Post.

"It’s believed that the hackers used spear phishing emails to plant malware on the computers of unsuspecting employees. ... Nichols said that employees were instructed to change their passwords following the incident," writes Softpedia's Eduard Kovacs. "The computers have been cleaned up, but the organization can’t afford to implement additional security systems."

"The intrusion broadly resembles the one suffered by The New York Times this past fall," writes TechNewsDaily's Paul Wagenseil. "In that case, hackers, also apparently from China, established a beachhead in the company network, then fanned out searching for information on a story the Times was working on concerning corrupt members of the family of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao."

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