As a dossier of 251,287 U.S. diplomatic cables obtained by Wikileaks tumbles out, bygone issues will be interpreted in a new light as raw details of closed-door diplomatic haggling reveal.
One of the documents revealed by Wikileaks states that a coordinated campaign to hack into Google systems, government and American businesses, was carried out at the behest of China's politburo. The sabotage was reported by a Chinese contact to the American Embassy.
Google had reported cyber attacks on its systems targeting email accounts of Chinese human rights activists in January and as recourse, it had ceased from censoring web search results in China and had redirected them to Google in Hong Kong.
In January Reuters reported that unlike ordinary viruses that are released into cyberspace and quickly spread from computer to computer, the type of attack launched against Google and at least 20 other companies were likely handcrafted uniquely for each targeted organization.
Adobe has also reported a coordinated attack on its network though no vital information was stolen.
Google's decision to eschew censoring of its search results in China was supported by U.S. President Barack Obama as MarketWatch quoted White House spokesman Robert Gibbs who said We support [Google's] action ... in a decision to no longer censor searches that happen using the [Google] platform.
The vacuum that was left by Google in China was filled by Baidu, a private web search engine. At the recently concluded Web 2.0 Summit Baidu chairman Robin Li attributed Baidu's success to an advice that Google failed to heed. He had said that when Google had launched its service in China, he had suggested that Google should spend six months to a year in China, studying the market.
Now, the Wikileaks report makes it clear that Google's departure from China was an outcome of political intrusion rather failed commercial strategy. Also private player Baidu was seen as an easy prey to be controlled by the Chinese Politburo compared to Google.
However, Wikileaks itself faced a Distributed Denial of Service (DoS) attack on Sunday, according to a tweet from the Wikileaks account. DoS is a method which deprives an organization or a user of the services of a particular resource that they would require for functioning. In a distributed denial of service, large number of compromised systems (botnet) attack a particular system using a tactic that sends huge traffic to a network causing temporary cessation of its operation.
Who is behind the attacks on whistleblower website Wikileaks is still unknown.