U.S. officials are concluding that the 2010 hacks into Google's servers may have ended with Chinese hackers getting ahold of sensitive data, according to The Washington Post.
Current and former government officials told the Post that the hackers were able to access information on U.S. intelligence, as well as find out which possible Chinese spies government officials may have been targeting.
In January 2010, Google shocked the security community by being one of the first tech companies to disclose that it and other companies had been. The Web giant said it discovered a "highly sophisticated and targeted attack" on its corporate infrastructure that led to theft of its intellectual property. At the time, Google did not elaborate further on exactly what information was stolen.
This disclosure led to a public tit-for-tat between Google and China, as well as between the U.S. and the Chinese government. At the time, Google announced it would stop censoring its Web results in China and could end up exiting that market altogether; and thefor a formal explanation regarding the cyberattacks. China any involvement in the hacks.
According to The Washington Post, it's still not clear how much information the hackers got, but the database they breached contained details on thousands of U.S. court orders authorizing surveillance.
"Knowing that you were subjects of an investigation allows them to take steps to destroy information, get people out of the country," one former official told the Post.
China also has been blamed for a. After The New York Times admitted in January to being that it believed was propagated by the Chinese government to spy on its journalists, The Wall Street Journal, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, and and news sources said their sites were hacked too.
A published in February linked China's People's Liberation Army to the large number of cyberattacks. And in March, the Obama administration of cyberespionage, warning that the hacking activity threatened to derail efforts to build stronger ties between the two countries.
In May, the Pentagonclaiming that the Chinese government and military have been engaged in widespread cyberespionage that has targeted U.S. government and business computer networks.
"China is using its computer network exploitation capability to support intelligence collection against the U.S. diplomatic, economic, and defense industrial base sectors that support U.S. national defense programs," the report said.
However, as with the 2010 attacks, the Chinese government haswith any of the recent hacking or cyberespionage.
When contacted by CNET, Google declined to comment.