Washington is currently assessing whether security had been compromised after Google revealed a series of hacker attacks targeting U.S. officials, among others, was traced to China.
“We take them seriously; we’re looking into them,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters a day after a Google spokesman said the company has already detected and disrupted the campaign.
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Government employees were directed not to use private accounts to discuss sensitive issues, which gives The White House a reason to believe that no official government emails were hacked in the incident.
Officials said that the government would continue to look into whether the private accounts of the senior officials were targeted as well.
“I don’t believe we’re aware that anyone was affected in this building,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said. “We’ll continue to look into the possibility that some individuals here may have been affected.”
While Google was able to determine that the attacks appeared to have originated from China, there is still uncertainty as to who’s responsible and what their motive is. Chinese foreign ministry officials have already rejected Google’s claim, branding it “unacceptable” even before either Google or the U.S. government could point fingers.
Google’s CEO Larry Page stressed that the incident did not reflect a security problem with its email service, reiterating that the attacks were conducted by stealing passwords rather than by breaching Google security.
According to the report, the United States has identified China as a “potential flashpoint for future conflict.” Not a good idea given that the US has already warned foreign countries that cyberattacks can now constitute an “act of war,” which could result in real-world military retaliation.