Journalists Targeted by State-Sponsored Malware

According to a new report released by two security engineers with Google, journalists at 21 out of the top 25 news publications around the world have been successfully penetrated and monitored by state-sponsored hackers.


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First presented on Friday at the Black Hat Asia Internet security conference in Singapore, the duo’s findings were later backed up by a story released by Reuters, who confirmed their servers were one of the dozens that had been compromised during the information gathering campaign.

Michael Huntley, Google employee and co-author of the study, paints a somewhat grim picture for anyone working in modern journalism or employed by many of the major papers in circulation today.

“If you’re a journalist or a journalistic organization, we will see state sponsored targeting and we see it happening regardless of region. We see it from all over the world both from where the targets are and where the targets are from.”

More notable names who had their servers taken down or targeted in the attacks include The New York Times, Forbes, and The Financial Times, all of which saw their fair share of troubles both from state-sponsored sources, as well as freelance hackers like those who align themselves with organizations such as the Syrian Electronic Army.

Last December we reported on a break in that plagued the servers of the Washington Post, launched on behalf of Chinese spies on the lookout for any information the newspaper may have had about Edward Snowden and the documents he entrusted to its journalists and editorial staff.

Supposedly one of the preferred techniques for cracking into the internal networks of major publications is a standard phishing email, disguised as an employee questionnaire sent out by the management of the paper that contains hidden malware capable of stealing user credentials and login details right out from underneath someone’s inbox.