It’s no secret that Google is steaming mad after being attacked by the Chinese government (the consensus position), enough so that the search juggernaut is threatening to close down their entire operation in the country.
But to add insult to injury, it seems that the attacks against Google were partially facilitated by the company’s own employees. Sources “familiar with the situation” say that Google is investigating whether workers in its own China office were involved in adding the malicious software which allowed the Chinese government to steal information.
The weapon of choice of the attacks was a modification of the Hydraq trojan, which is pretty nasty once you get it. Still, one must wonder how someone as good at ‘net security as Google got infected, which makes the possibility of an inside job seem all the more real.
To be fair, cyber attacks are happening all the time. The US is always hacking China and China is always hacking the US; it’s called cyber warfare. The reason why the attacks on Google are an issue is because Google has been able to create the ultimate PR nightmare for China: Google is beloved by all, the main targets were the email accounts of humanitarians doing work in China, and Google is saying that this is so egregious that they might jump ship from China entirely.
If you were China right now, you’d feel like you had a pretty nasty hangover.