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Washington Post latest victim of hacking against U.S. news media

The Washington Post announced last week that it was the latest U.S. news media organization to fall victim to Chinese cyber attacks.
The Washington Post announced last week that it was the latest U.S. news media organization to fall victim to Chinese cyber attacks.

Disaster recovery planning is something that businesses should not take lightly. No matter the size of an organization, with more companies becoming dependent on evolving technologies, cyber threats are a harsh reality. 

The Washington Post announced last week that it has become the latest victim of cyber attacks targeting U.S. news media. The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg also recently reported that their systems were infiltrated. Officials have said that they believe all of the incidents are the work of Chinese hackers. 

“Like other companies in the news recently, we face cybersecurity threats,” Washington Post spokeswoman Kris Coratti said in a Post article. “In this case, we worked with [security company] Mandiant to detect, investigate, and remediate the situation promptly at the end of 2011. We have a number of security measures in place to guard against cyberattacks on an ongoing basis.”

Mandiant, a computer security company used by The Times and The Post, released a report in December that said over the course of several investigations it found evidence that Chinese hackers had stolen e-mails, contacts and files from more than 30 journalists and executives at Western news organizations.

The report added that the targeted reporters had written about Chinese leaders, political and legal issues in China and the telecom giants Huawei and ZTE.

Grady Summers, a vice president at Mandiant, said in a Washington Post article that in general, Chinese government hackers want to know who is talking to the media. They want to understand how they are being portrayed and what is coming in future articles.

In order to have quick business resumption following such attacks, companies would be wise to ensure that a comprehensive disaster recovery plan is in place. It cannot guarantee that nothing will ever happen, but it can guarantee that an organization will get back on its feet as fast and smoothly as possible.