The recent Gmail hack involving stolen passwords are now being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. State Department. Google has pointed fingers to China, saying the cyber attack originated from there, which prompted responses from both China and the U.S officials.
China shot back at the internet giant's phishing attack allegation saying it was unacceptable, a total fabrication, with Google having ulterior motives. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has spoken out saying,
Hacking is an international issue, and China is also a victim of hacking...The claim that China supports hacking is completely created out of nothing, and is out of ulterior motives, said a Foreign Ministry spokesman.
The country's state run news agency Xinhua also reported
The chimerical complaints by Google have become obstacles for enhancing global trust between stakeholders in cyberspace...It is a real pity that Google's baseless complaints have distressed mutual trust and the efforts to establish new global governance in cyberspace, letting real online criminals obtain illegal profits without being punished... It is not appropriate for Google, a profit-first business, to act as an Internet judge, said Xinhua.
The phishing attack did not infiltrate Google's main systems, rather it targeted individual Gmail users and duped them into giving up their passwords allowing the hackers access. The method was less sophisticated than earlier hacks this month on Sony and Lockheed Martin. Google has encouraged users to create stronger passwords and activate their settings for a two-step verification security option.
The recent accusations and past history has not helped the diplomatic relationship between Google and China. In 2009, Google was a victim of a cyber hack that placed blame on China leading to censorship issues.
U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton announced the seriousness of Google's allegations and that the FBI are investigating the matter.
Google informed the State Department yesterday in advance of its public announcement. These allegations are very serious; we take them seriously, we're looking into them, and because this is an ongoing investigation, I would refer you to first Google for any details that they are able to share at this time, and to the FBI, which will be conducting the investigation, said Clinton.