It looks like those Chinese hackers really don't want American journalists doing any, you know, journalism in China. Less than a day after The New York Times revealed Chinese malware experts had cracked into its employee computer system, The Wall Street Journal said Thursday afternoon that it, too, has been "infiltrated ... for the apparent purpose of monitoring the newspaper's China coverage."
Wednesday night's Times report had suggested that the attacks on its China bureau and its journalists' passwords were part of a "broader computer espionage campaign against American news media companies that have reported on Chinese leaders and corporations." And now it would appear that's exactly what's been going on. The FBI is investigating the attacks on both papers' networks by as yet unnamed hackers — though the "methods that some consultants have associated with the Chinese military" cited by the Times sounds like a fishy government link, and the Journal's report mentions hacks at Google and EMC: "People familiar with those breaches said they were connected to the Chinese government."
But just like it did with its rival paper, the hackers also monitored the Journal's coverage of China, according to Paula Keve, a spokesperson for Dow Jones, the paper's parent company. And the Journal, of course, has extensive China coverage, including a whole section called China in Transition. It also has a blog, China Realtime Report, which focuses on local issues. Meanwhile, other reports have noted that The Associated Press and Bloomberg may received similar threats in recent years.
While the Times detailed the consequences of four years of hacking in a long investigation, the Journal is remaining much more vague by reporting mostly on the statement from Dow Jones. "The paper has faced hacking threats from China on and off during the past few years," added the Journal's Siobhan Gorman, Devlin Barrett, and Danny Yadron, without adding if any similar password thievery had connected its infiltration to the Times hacks. But the Dow Jones spokesperson makes it sound like the hackers were primarily watching rather than infiltrating, exactly, saying that the "infiltration efforts... are not an attempt to gain commercial advantage or to misappropriate customer information." However, anyone who works at or paid for a subscription to the Journal probably wants to change their passwords, just in case.