January 31, 2013 - 10:17 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - After a lengthy newspaper investigation on China's prime minister, The New York Times claims that its computer systems were infiltrated and attacked by Chinese hackers, CNET reports.
The attacks began four months ago and culminated with hackers stealing the corporate password for every Times employee, according to the newspaper. The personal computers of 53 of these employees were also broken into and spied on.
The Times discovered the attacks after observing "unusual activity" in its computer system. Security investigators were then able to get into the system and track the hackers' movements, see what the infiltrators were after, and eventually "expel them."
In order to find out more of who was behind the cyberattacks, The Times hired computer security firm Mandiant. Experts from this firm were able to detect and block the attacks, while watching the hackers every move.
According to The New York Times, the methods these hackers used were similar to past attacks by the Chinese military. These methods include routing attacks through U.S. university computers, constantly changing I.P. addresses, using e-mail malware to get into the computer system, and installing custom software to target specific individuals and documents.
China's Ministry of National Defense has denied that the government had anything to do with the hacking spree. "Chinese laws prohibit any action including hacking that damages Internet security," the Ministry told The New York Times. "To accuse the Chinese military of launching cyberattacks without solid proof is unprofessional and baseless."