Andrew Jacobs: I Was Hacked in Beijing

New York Times reporter Andrew Jacobs writes about his experience when he became one of several foreign journalists in China whose Yahoo accounts were hacked:

I’d been hacked.

That phrase has been popping up a lot lately on Web chats and at dinner parties in China, where scores of foreign reporters have discovered intrusions into their e-mail accounts.

But unlike malware that trawls for bank account passwords or phishing gambits that peddle lonely and sexually adventurous Russian women, these cyberattacks appear inspired by good old-fashioned espionage.

…The monitoring and manipulation of foreign reporters — the ability to keep them and their sources on edge — would have come a long way since the days when thick-set men in ill-fitting blazers would trail correspondents to interviews, and when unmistakable clicking noises during phone calls gave new meaning to the expression “party line.”

Perhaps most disturbing would be the anonymity of the attacks — the prospect that we and our sources will never know just what we are facing or whom to blame.