An unknown number of Yahoo! (YHOO) email accounts have been hacked in China and Taiwan recently, according to Reuters. Some belong to journalists, including one from The New York Times. A reporter for the paper, Andrew Jacobs in Beijing, told the news agency that "his Yahoo! Plus account had been set, without his knowledge, to forward to another, unknown, account."Yahoo! would not comment on the situation but says it "condemns all cyberattacks regardless of origin or purpose."
One of the most vexing issues about similar attacks on Google (GOOG) Gmail accounts late last year is that the origin of the attacks was never identified, and according to Google, might never be discovered. It was assumed early in the incident that the attacks were done or sanctioned by the Chinese government. There have been claims that the hacks came from one or two Chinese educational institutions, but none of them have been verified.
The Yahoo! incident flags the problem that no email accounts run by large providers are truly secure. And it may never be clear if the hackers compromising the accounts are rogue software experts or agents of Beijing. Security software has not been able to keep pace with hacker skills, and that imbalance may continue indefinitely.
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