The Chinese government has denied claims that a hacker in China was able to crack hundreds of email accounts of Google's Gmail service.
The last cyber attack in 2009 put a strain on Google's relations with China
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei says it is unacceptable to blame China for the most recent cyber attack: "Hacking is an international problem. We also have problems with hacking from outside. Accusations that China supports or encourages such activity are not based on facts. Such accusations and rumors are spread for other reasons."
The internet giant says the attack came from the city Jinan or somewhere in the eastern province of Shandong. It seems as though unknown persons had tried to obtain passwords through phishing in order to monitor emails. Google says among those targeted were American government representatives, Chinese activists, journalists and government officials from a number of Asian countries. Google says the attack had been recently discovered and stopped. The company informed the users that their Gmail accounts had been hacked, but that their security was now restored.
China has more internet users than the United States
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei also says that Chinese authorities are as hard as ever on hackers. "The government takes internet security very seriously and we expect our citizens to comply with our legislation. We renounce any form of criminal internet activity - that includes hacking. We also take a hardline approach in accordance with our laws against such activity."
Google was hit by a huge cyber attack launched out of China in December 2009. The hackers had tried to hack accounts of dissidents and penetrate Google systems. Google went to the press and also confronted China publicly about the incident. This new case is sure to put further strain on the relationship between the American company and the Chinese authorities.
Author: Ruth Kirchner (sb)
Editor: Ziphora Robina