News Corp. Journalists Hacked

US media giant News Corp, publisher of the Wall Street Journal and London's The Times, among others,  has disclosed that it was recently the target of a "persistent" cyber attack. Journalists and editorial staff had their email accounts hacked in what the company believes was a Chinese espionage operation.

The hack was discovered on January 20 and the firm has claimed it was likely aimed at gathering 'intelligence to benefit China's interests'. The attack affected a number of individuals working for the Times the Sun, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that an investigation by cyber security firm Mandiant showed the hackers “likely meant to gather intelligence to benefit China’s interests”. The newspaper noted that journalists are often targeted in hacking operations in attempts to gain intelligence from sensitive sources. “We are committed to protecting our journalists and sources. We will not be deterred from our purpose, to provide uniquely trusted journalism and analysis. We will continue to publish the important stories of our time,” said Almar Latour, chief executive of Dow Jones and publisher of The Wall Street Journal.

News Corp said it did not appear that any financial or user data had been targeted, suggesting the hackers may have been after information relating to its journalism. 

The company did not disclose how many email accounts were compromised by the Chinese-linked hackers, or what proportion of the compromised company email accounts belonged to its journalists. It does not believe staff at its other subsidiaries, such as the publisher HarperCollins, or News Corp Australia, were targeted.

China has been accused repeatedly of running an aggressive hacking campaign designed to gather information from private companies and governments around the world. 

 FBI director, Christopher Wray has accused the Chinese government of stealing “staggering volumes of information” using “a massive, sophisticated hacking programme that is bigger than those of every other major nation combined”, with well-funded operations based in every major Chinese city.

In February 2020, China revoked the press credentials of three Wall Street Journal reporters based in Beijing. China’s Foreign Ministry said the move was punishment for an opinion piece published by the Journal. The three journalists work for the Journal’s news operation, which operates with a strict separation from the opinion staff.

Wall Sreet Journal:     Guardian:   AlJazeera:      Daily Mail:    Bleeping Computer:     Financial Times

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