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Google probes security breach

City A.M. Reporter
GOOGLE is investigating whether a cyber attack on the US firm was an “inside job” by its Chinese workers.

Google, the world’s most popular search engine, said last week it may pull out of the world’s biggest internet market after reporting it had been hit by a “sophisticated” cyber-attack on its network that resulted in theft of its intellectual property.

Sources said the attack, which targeted people who have access to specific parts of Google networks, may have been facilitated by people working in Google China’s office.

A Google spokeswoman said: “We’re not commenting on rumour and speculation. This is an ongoing investigation, and we simply cannot comment on the details.”

Security analysts said the malicious software used in the Google attack was a modification of a trojan called Hydraq. A trojan is virus that, once inside a computer, allows someone unauthorised access. The sophistication in the attack was in knowing whom to attack, not the virus itself, the analysts said.

Local media, citing unnamed sources, reported that some Google China employees were denied access to internal networks after 13 January, while some staff were put on leave and others transferred to different offices in Google’s Asia Pacific operations.

Google said it would not comment on its business operations.

Google, which has denied rumours that it has already decided to shut down its China offices, said yesterday it contacted the Chinese government last week after the announcement.

“We are going to have talks with them in the coming few days,” Google added.