Following an investigation by the New York Times on the claims that Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao had amassed a multi-billion dollar fortune, the newspaper's network was attacked by Chinese hackers. These attacks started nearly four months ago with hackers stealing passwords from every employee at the paper, and in addition, personal computers of 53 employees were broken into. After the story on the prime minister was published in October, these attacks became more intense.

These attacks were first noticed when the Times saw some unusual activity in their systems. After an investigation by a security firm called Mandiant, the security team was able to get into the system and track the activity of these hackers to see what their aim was and eventually to block them out of the system.

These hackers used typical Chinese military techniques in their attacks. These techniques include: routing attacks through US university computers, constantly rotating IP addresses, using email viruses to break into the system, and installing custom software to target specific individuals and documents. The security experts claim that these attacks used the same university computers for their attacks which had been used by previous Chinese military attacks. They also found that the attacks typically began at 8am Beijing time.

The Chinese Ministry of National Defense has of course denied that the government had any connection to these attacks. Their response was: "Chinese laws prohibit any action including hacking that damages Internet security. To accuse the Chinese military of launching cyberattacks without solid proof is unprofessional and baseless."

Sources:
BBC
CNET