In a dramatic announcement late Wednesday, the New York Times reported that hackers from China had been routing through the paper’s network for at least four months, stealing the passwords of reporters in an apparent attempt to identify sources and gather other intelligence about stories related to the family of China’s prime minister.
The hackers breached the network sometime around Sept. 13 and stole the corporate passwords for every Times employee, using them to gain access to the personal computers of 53 employees, according to the report.
The hacking coincided with an investigation the Times published last October that looked into a fortune that the family of China’s Prime Minister Wen Jiabao had amassed. The hackers breached the network while the paper was in the process of concluding its reporting for the investigation.
The hackers broke into the email account of the newspaper’s Shanghai bureau chief, David Barboza, who conducted the investigation, as well as the email account of Jim Yardley, the paper’s South Asia bureau chief in India, who had previously worked out of Beijing.