Google Beijing office, by Veen
Sometimes I feel like I am living in science fiction, except with no flying cars. Apparently Chinese hackers attacked Google, targeting the personal information of human rights activists. In response Google has said it will stop censoring search results and may pull out of the country entirely, sacrificing like half a billion in yearly revenue. Intense.
The tipping point didn’t come until Google recently uncovered hacking attacks launched from within China. The apparent goals: breaking into the computers of at least 20 major U.S. companies and gathering personal information about dozens of human rights activists trying to shine a light on China’s alleged abuses.
As far as I can tell these attacks were highly sophisticated, stealing source code to try and find security vulnerabilities. You need very intelligent engineers to even read this sort of source code, it’s not for script kiddies.
It seems like the Chinese government is implicated in these attacks, and Google seems pretty pissed. It’s a huge opportunity loss to pull out of China, so there must be some serious malfeasance for Google to put that on the table. Google has previously consented to wide censorship on search results and a pretty total ban on YouTube. I guess a hack attack targeting GMail was just a bridge too far.
You can read Google’s official statement on their blog.