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Chinese Google attacks are 'fairly regular'

The online attacks on Google users in China that we reported on Wednesday aren’t anything new, according to security experts. In fact they happen pretty regularly. Security company F-Secure has been monitoring attacks on accounts owned by human rights activists since 2005, and they revealed that those involved in Tibetan independence from China and other ‘subversive’ movements were being hit.

‘This wasn't in my opinion ground-breaking as an attack. We see this fairly regularly,’ said Mikko Hypponen to the BBC. ‘Most companies just never go public. Human-rights activists are the biggest target. Everyone from Freedom for Tibet to Falun Gong supporters and those involved in Liberation of Taiwan are hit.’

China stated yesterday the web was open, and Google refused to say whether the attacks were made on behalf of the Chinese state, only that ‘they were highly organised and we believe the attacker came from China. However others have stated explicitly that they think the attacks were at least known and approved by the country’s intelligence community.

‘Sources indicate that they believe the attack is the work of actors operating on behalf of or in the direct employ of official intelligence entities of the People's Republic of China,’ said iDefense Labs. Google’s advice for users now is the usual; change passwords regularly and make them complicated, and make sure you don’t open attachments unless they are sent by someone you know. Cheers for that.

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