Following The New York Times’ recent disclosure that it had been targeted by Chinese hackers, The Wall Street Journal yesterday announced that it too had been “infiltrated by Chinese hackers for the apparent purpose of monitoring its China coverage.”
The FBI apparently notified the Journal of a potential breach in the middle of last year. “The Journal hired consultants to investigate the matter and uncovered a major breach in which hacking groups — it wasn’t clear whether they were working together — entered the company’s networks, in part through computers belonging to business staff in the Beijing office, and from there infiltrated the global computer system, people familiar with the situation said,” write The Wall Street Journal’s Siobhan Gorman, Devlin Barrett and Danny Yadron. “Among the targets were a handful of reporters and editors in the Beijing bureau, including Jeremy Page, who wrote articles about the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood in a scandal that helped to bring down Chinese politician Bo Xilai, and Beijing Bureau Chief Andrew Browne, people familiar with the matter said.”
According to the report, several computers were “totally controlled by outside hackers, who had broad access across the Journal’s computer networks.” The investigation failed to determine the full extent of the data that had been accessed by the hackers.
The Journal has since prepared measures to bolster security throughout its networks, and has required all employees to change their passwords.
In the meantime, the satirical newspaper The Onion took the opportunity to affirm its eagerness to provide the Chinese government with all of its employees’ passwords and personal information. “The Onion aims to be on the right side of history, and towards that end, China is also welcome to our employees’ social security numbers, home addresses, and medical and voting histories if ever they would like to see them. … Also, we would like to address the following message directly to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao: If there is anything else you need, dear friend, please just ask,” the newspaper’s editorial board wrote.