17 Sep 2012

Foreign Journalists in China under Malware Fire


Foreign journalists in China are under malware attack, with dangerous e-mails spreading on their computers to steal sensitive information, according to Reuters.

The socially engineered malware comes in an email attachment, allegedly from a Beijing-based correspondent or a Washington-based think tank. Journalists are lured into clicking on it to find out more about the Communist Party leadership handover due in October. Reuters reported that the malware sends the encrypted data from users’ computers to an external server in the UK.

"China manages the internet according to law and has engaged in cooperation with the international community to promote internet security. Internet security is a complicated issue," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said, as quoted by Reuters. "China is also a victim of internet attacks. The source of these internet attacks is very difficult to determine. Reaching conclusions without sufficient evidence or fair and thorough investigations, it's just not serious."

Tension in China started to rise as the Communist Party prepares for the biggest political change in 10 years at the 18th National Congress.

This is not the first time journalists in China are under serious malware attack. Previous attacks hit foreign correspondents before the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and the 60th anniversary of Communist Party rule in 2009.

Last week, Microsoft discovered several Chinese retailers were selling brand new computers infected with malware, and loaded with counterfeit Windows software.