Google Detects Attack on Gmail Originated From China, Human Rights Related

Whoa, black swan in internet land? This was posted today on Google's blog. A rep from Google was just on Kudlow explaining what happened. It looks to be human rights related.
"Like many other well-known organizations, we face cyber attacks of varying degrees on a regular basis. In mid-December, we detected a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China that resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google. However, it soon became clear that what at first appeared to be solely a security incident--albeit a significant one--was something quite different.

First, this attack was not just on Google. As part of our investigation we have discovered that at least twenty other large companies from a wide range of businesses--including the Internet, finance, technology, media and chemical sectors--have been similarly targeted. We are currently in the process of notifying those companies, and we are also working with the relevant U.S. authorities.

Second, we have evidence to suggest that a primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. Based on our investigation to date we believe their attack did not achieve that objective. Only two Gmail accounts appear to have been accessed, and that activity was limited to account information (such as the date the account was created) and subject line, rather than the content of emails themselves.
" (Read full post at the Official Google Blog).

More information:
E-mail leak has Google threatening to leave China (AP)
Google, Citing Cyber Attack, Threatens to Exit China (New York Times)
Google May Pull out of China After Cyberattacks (PC World)
Google to stop censoring in China, may pull out (CNET)
Google may exit China following 'highly targeted' attack (Register)

*On a more interesting note: Google to Sell Billboard Ad Space in Street Views and Maps, says Report (PC World). Talk about unlocking virtual ad inventory.

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