Last week, the company that owns The Wall Street Journal and New York Post said that it had been the victim of a data breach.

In an email to employees, News Corp. stated that company systems had been breached by hackers, with specific documents and reporter email accounts targeted. Only news organizations under the media company suffered a breach.

News Corp. discovered the hacking incident on January 20th, stating that the hackers went through a third-party computing service. They’re currently in the process of notifying users whose accounts were accessed. The cybersecurity company News Corp. hired in response to the incident believes the hack was a part of ongoing cyber-espionage from China. A company spokesperson declined to comment on evidence of China’s role in the attack, citing an ongoing investigation.

Christopher Wray, FBI Director, has stated that the agency encounters approximately two new Chinese counterintelligence investigations per day. It’s speculated that the timing of this particular hack could be an attempt to gain access to Western media coverage of Beijing’s Winter Olympics.

Large newspapers like the WSJ and NYP have published stories that can be seen as critical of China’s government leadership, and it’s possible that this would make them a target in the eyes of PRC (People’s Republic of China) hackers. Media organizations are broadcasting the Winter Games internationally, and the hack may have been an attempt to enable censorship ahead of any critical news that may arise from the Olympics.

While the involvement of China in this hack is speculative, Chinese espionage against the U.S. is on the rise. It’s important to take data security seriously, and to have multiple layers of protection in place to mitigate risk to your organization.

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