China has hit back at Google's claims that it ran a targeted phishing campaign against Gmail users.
News from earlier this year, re-highlighted yesterday, revealed that high profile Gmail users including senior US government officials and Chinese political activists were targeted by phishing messages that gave a fake Gmail login page to collect user passwords.
Eric Grosse, engineering director at the Google Security Team, said on the Google blog that the campaign appeared to originate from Jinan, China.
However according to a report in the Telegraph, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said that ‘blaming these misdeeds on China is unacceptable'.
He said: “Hacking is an international problem and China is also a victim. The claims of so-called Chinese state support for hacking are completely fictitious and have ulterior motives.”
Further, China's state news agency xinhuanet.com claimed that this was the second time that Google arbitrarily pointed its finger at China after it ‘groundlessly' accused the Chinese government of supporting a hacker attack against it with the Aurora attack in January 2010.
It said: “It was too imprudent for the online giant to lash out at others without solid proof to support its accusation. Last year, Google invited the US National Security Agency to help with its inquiry into cyber attacks against it, even though the cooperation was considered to be a serious threat to internet neutrality.
“Then unidentified American security investigators said they traced the attackers to computers at Chinese Shanghai Jiaotong University and Lanxiang Vocational School, according to the New York Times. The report amused many Chinese at that time since Lanxiang Vocational School enjoys a good fame at training chefs for local restaurants.
“But the American investigators suggested that the school had the capacity to stage the cyber attacks and made the world's number one search engine suffer. It is really hard for people with common sense to understand. Furthermore, it is not appropriate for Google, a profit-first business, to act as an internet judge.”
It concluded by saying that global cooperation is urgently needed to keep the internet safe and it was a pity that ‘Google's baseless complaints have distress mutual trust and the efforts to establish new global governance in cyber space'.