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China and Yahoo: Investigate Email Infiltration

IFJ Urges China and Yahoo to Investigate Email Infiltration

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is concerned to learn that the Yahoo email accounts of 10 Beijing-based foreign journalists and the IFJ’s Hong Kong-based China coordinator were infiltrated during March.

Staff from Yahoo Hong Kong reportedly contacted some of the affected journalists to alert them to unusual movement in their accounts but did not provide further details.

The IFJ understands the journalists do not know how their accounts were hacked, or by whom. However, some of journalists reported that their private mails had been forwarded to unknown people.

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC) issued a statement on March 31 saying it had confirmed eight cases in recent weeks in which the Yahoo accounts of China and Taiwan-based journalists had been hacked, with several accounts automatically disabled by Yahoo on March 25.

“The repeated invasion of privacy of foreign and local journalists in China is alarming,” said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White.

“The intentions and origins of the hackers are unknown, but it is clear that journalists, press freedom and human rights activists are among those repeatedly targeted.”

The IFJ calls on China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to assist Yahoo in launching a thorough investigation into these incidents.

The FCCC has issued a reminder to all members that email accounts are an insecure communication tool throughout China, and offers tips on creating strong passwords at http://www.fccchina.org/2010/03/31/email-security-problems-spread-to-yahoo-accounts/

ENDS

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