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Google.cn on the Brink of Closure

Search giant Google Inc. has announced that it is thinking to shut down Google.cn (its Chinese website) and its offices in China. This announcement from Google follows the detection of a China-originated, highly sophisticated assault on Google that occurred in mid-December 2009.

According to Google, this malicious attack targeted Gmail accounts of advocates of human rights, as per the news reported by businessweek.com on January 12, 2010.

The company stated that supposedly two accounts have been compromised in the attack. The information accessed was basically confined to the account details of the victims, including date of the account creation and subject lines of the e-mails (rather than their content).

Moreover, such attacks have regularly been launched on Gmail accounts of several Europe and US-based human right activists in China, noted Google. The accounts are reportedly being targeted via malware attacks or phishing scams. In phishing attacks, cybercriminals masquerade as authentic websites and ask users to reveal their personal details, whereas malware assaults include programs that trace keystrokes while users enter their passwords.

Identical assaults on minimum 20 other firms in the technology, financial, chemical and media sectors have also been exposed with the discovery of this sophisticated attack. In a separate statement, Adobe Systems reported that it along with some other companies had also got affected with such attacks.

Supporting Google's decision, Chief Legal Officer for Google, David Drummond, stated that the discovery of these attacks and surveillance, along with the attempts made over 2009 to restrict free speech on Web to a further extent, have forced the company to reassess the feasibility of its business activities in China, reported The Register on January 11, 2010.

The Officer added that Google has decided that they are no longer going to continue censoring their results on the Chinese website, Google.cn. Therefore, in the coming few weeks they will be talking with the Government of China to discover a way that allows them to operate a search engine that is unfiltered within the law (if it exists at all).

Google has also issued an advisory appealing its worldwide users to have properly updated anti-spyware and anti-virus programs in place so as to evade future attacks.

Related article: Google Rectifies Gmail flaw in Three Days

» SPAMfighter News - 1/23/2010

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