The New York Times (NYSE: NYT ) reported that, for the past four months, Chinese hackers have persistently attacked its computer systems and successfully stolen employee passwords. Security experts, hired by The Times, were able to block out any intruders, and have continued to prevent any further break-in attempts. The experts found that the hackers used methods associated with the Chinese military.
The attacks began around Oct. 25 when The Times published its investigation into Wen Jiabao, China's prime minister, and the billion dollar fortune he had amassed through business dealings.
Routing their attacks through U.S. universities -- a past method used by the Chinese military to attack contractors -- the hackers cloaked the source of their attacks. They stole the corporate passwords from every Times employee, thereby gaining access to the personal computers of 53 employees. Experts found no evidence that the hackers were seeking non-Wen related information, nor was there evidence that sensitive emails or files on Wen were accessed, downloaded or copied.
The experts say no customer data was stolen from The Times.
In response to inquiries, China's Ministry of National Defense said that "Chinese laws prohibit any action including hacking that damages Internet security." It added that, "to accuse the Chinese military of launching cyberattacks without solid proof is unprofessional and baseless."