Security experts say Google cyber-attack was routine

The cyber-attack that made Google consider pulling out of China was run of the mill, say security experts.

Google revealed its move following attempts to hack Gmail accounts of human rights activists.

The search giant said analysis showed that the series of attacks originated from inside China.

"This wasn't in my opinion ground-breaking as an attack. We see this fairly regularly. said Mikko Hypponen, of security firm F-Secure.

"Most companies just never go public," he added.

"Human-rights activists are the biggest target," said Mr Hypponen. "Everyone from Freedom for Tibet to Falun Gong supporters and those involved in Liberation of Taiwan are hit."

F-Secure has been monitoring such attacks against Chinese human-rights activists since 2005.

Google has operated in China since 2006 and has now said it was no longer willing to censor results on its Chinese search engine as the government required.

China has responded to Google and said that foreign firms were welcome to trade in the nation "according to the law". The spokesman added that the net was "open" in China.

Read more - BBC News

China gives first response to Google threat

China has said that foreign internet firms are welcome to do business there "according to the law".

The statement, from Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu, is Beijing's first response to Google's threat to stop filtering content in China.

Google said cyber-attacks originating in China aimed at rights activists, and increased web censorship, might force it to end its China operations.

Ms Jiang insisted the internet was "open" in China.  Google announced late on Tuesday that it was no longer willing to censor its Chinese search engine -

The search engine said it would hold talks with the government in the coming weeks to look at operating an unfiltered search engine within the law in the country, though no changes to filtering have yet been made.

'Holding statement'

At a regular foreign ministry news briefing, Ms Jiang said: "China like other countries administers the internet according to law.

"China's internet is open, and the Chinese government encourages development of the internet."

She was responding to a reporter's question on Google and US concerns about the business environment in China in light of Google's reported cyber-attacks.

"Chinese law proscribes any form of hacking activity," she said.

When Google launched in 2006, it agreed to censor some search results - such as the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, Tibetan independence or Falun Gong - as required by the Chinese government.

The BBC's Chris Hogg in Shanghai says Ms Jiang's comments sound like a holding statement, until officials can have talks with Google.

Google currently holds about one-third of the Chinese search market, far behind Chinese rival Baidu, which has more than 60%.

China has more internet users - about 350 million - than any other country and provides a lucrative search engine market worth an estimated $1bn (£614m) last year.

It is difficult to see how the situation can be resolved, our correspondent says, with Google potentially losing its market share and the government reluctant to give up its right to control the internet.

'Don't be evil'

In a blog posted late on Tuesday, Google's chief legal officer David Drummond announced "A new approach to China".

He said the accounts of dozens of US, China and Europe-based users of its Gmail service who are advocates of human rights in China had been "routinely accessed by third parties".

At least 20 other large companies from a wide range of businesses were similarly targeted, it added.

Google's decision to concede to China's demands on censorship in 2006 led to accusations it had betrayed its company motto - "don't be evil" - but Google argued it would be more damaging for civil liberties if it pulled out of China entirely.

Google's stance has drawn mixed reaction from China's internet community. Some have applauded what they see as a bold stand against the country's internet guardians while others expressed fears they would lose a valued source of news, despite it being censored.

Others saw the Google statement as a Chinese victory, saying that Google's withdrawal from the country would be no great loss, with Baidu providing almost all the same services as

The state-run China Daily described Google's statement as designed to put pressure on the Chinese government.

Via - BBC News

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