With the US already joining the China-Google slugfest over hacking of email accounts, New Delhi too — albeit unintentionally — got caught in the crossfire.
Two senior Indian diplomats in Beijing have found their gmail accounts — Googles’ email service — hacked and some others suspect that their accounts are also being targeted.
Diplomats who have served in China said there had been such “instances” in the past too.
According to official sources, the hackers broke into the accounts, changed the passwords and forwarded mails from the accounts. They also changed the email settings.
Google said on Wednesday that hundreds of its email service users had been targeted by stealth attacks originating in China. The victims included government officials, military personnel, political activists and journalists.
Promptly denying the charge, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said, “The so-called statement that the Chinese government supports the hacking attacks is a total fabrication. It has ulterior motives.”
Terming the allegations “very serious”, US secretary of state Hilary Clinton said on Thursday that the FBI would investigate the breaches.
Recently, the US government also said that it would classify cyber attacks, such as hacking of email accounts, as “acts of war” and that the Google-China tussle would put further strain on relations with that country.
An Indian official said on condition of anonymity that the mails that the hackers sent had an attachment containing a ‘malware’ — malicious software designed to disrupt or deny operation and breach the anti-virus protection of the
“Then there are reports that the email settings have been changed so that the forwards could go to any address desired by the hackers,” he said.