Cyberattacks From China On Gmail…An Act Of War?

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Once again internet wars between Google and China continue to fuel the political cinders. A cyberattack has been launched by China with a breach of Gmail accounts of hundreds of high-profile individuals in several nations, or at least that is what the tech giant claimed on June 1, 2011.

U.S. and United Kingdom military officials, just a day prior to this, acknowledged that nation-spurred cyberattacks could be an act of war. With reports of frequent break-ins at major defense operations and other similar disclosures, one wonders if there is some meat to these claims.

Google is calling it a deliberate attempt to mar the Gmail service by making the problem appear to be with the service itself. Google representatives stated “We have checked extensively. This is a government blockage carefully designed to look like the problem is with Gmail.” Eric Grosse, engineering director of Google’s security team, said that in a campaign to collect Gmail users’ passwords, the hackers targeted the accounts of “senior U.S. government officials, Chinese political activists, officials in several Asian countries (predominantly South Korea), military personnel and journalists.”

However, Google is not new to this in the country. Since 2006 when they first entered the Chinese market the two have exchanged blows that seem one too many. Even so, Google has had to submit to the demands of the eastern giant time and again. The Chinese market is just too large to erase and forget and so Google succumbed to the Chinese demands and applied censorship policy to the service.

So what one wonders is that Google doing it again?—going down on its knees in the face of losing a market of 338 million customers, because in spite of the cyberattack claims from the Chinese, it hasn’t as yet struck back. Google perhaps has come to terms with the fact that it has landed in a ‘hot-and-sour’ soup by entering this market and must keep a defensive stance, knowing what is at stake.

Another debate that this entire episode has sparked off is that of whether this whole cyberattack was a “phishing” attempt or was it “hacking”? What do you think? Is it phishing, hacking, or an ACT OF WAR? Tell us all your views!

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