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Wikileaks: Chinese Government Ordered Google Hack

US embassy documents say a Chinese Politburo member ordered attacks on Google

The Chinese government ordered the hack against Google in January, and backed many other acts of cyber-warfare, according to the US Embassy cables revealed by Wikileaks.

Wikileaks sparked a diplomatic crisis this weekend by releasing more than 250,000  confidential cables from its embassies round the world. Along with Arab leaders urging strikes on Iran’s nuclear plants, and embarassing assessments of foreign leaders, the massive leak shed new light on the incident in January, when Google was subject to hacking from within China.

Hack ordered by Politburo member?

The hack in January, which prompted Google to leave China temporarily, was “orchestrated by a senior member of the Politburo who typed his own name into the global version of the search engine and found articles criticising him personally,” according to a source in China, The Guardian reports.

The campaign used “government operatives, private security experts and Internet outlaws recruited by the Chinese government,” and was part of a concerted pattern of Chinese official hacking dating back to 2002, whose targets included other businesses, the US government and its allies, and the Dalai Lama.

Earlier this month, it was revealed that, in April, 15 percent of Internet traffic was routed through China, an incident which raised fears of further Chinese interventions.

The material in the cables is embarassing to the US government and, in the case of the Google hack, adds evidence to back existing suspicions, rather than providing any proof. Wikileaks is posting 251,000 documents from 274 embassies dating back to 1996, in an action which it says “reveals the contradictions between the US’s public persona and what it says behind closed doors”.

The Chinese hack on Google was alleged to have stolen Google’s source code, and is believed to have originated from two Chinese colleges. Google stopped re-routing its traffic away from China in June.

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