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Technically Geeking: Google vs. China… Fight!


Image Credit: The Associated Press

Image Credit: The Associated Prea blogumn by Justin Time

a blogumn by Justin Time

I’m a little worried. I’ve been working in the tech industry for ten years, and I’ve tried to be security conscious to a certain degree, but it often feels like more effort than it is worth. Sure, my credit card number has been stolen from online sources a few times, but in the end I always got my money back so no harm no foul. That’s what bank fees are for, right?

But in light of the news last week that Google’s servers were hacked and Chinese human rights activists’ email accounts were compromised, I feel a little less safe in the world this week. It’s been talked about for awhile, and there have been problems in eastern European nations with cyber attacks, but this is the first time that an attack has hit so close to home and was so politically charged. Also, the fact that mighty Google was hacked is disturbing. We all have gmail accounts, and many of us store sensitive documents and data on Google’s servers. Google controls more information flow than any other company in the world.┬áIf Google is not safe, who is?

Google announced they are ending their voluntary censorship of search results in China in light of the server attacks. This is expected to lead to a ban on Google from China for not adhering to the censorship laws, which prevent Chinese citizens from seeing politically charged news and websites on topics such as Tibetan religious persecution. It is probably for the best that Google pulls out now before things escalate any more. Hopefully, free information will win in the end, but it does seem that the cold war has taken on a new face.

The scary thing is that many companies could already have been hacked, and don’t know it. There could be trojan horses in the source code just waiting for a hacker to activate some nasty piece of malware. Like, what if someone planted some malware in Apple code that caused all our iPhones to dial our voicemail at the same time, overwhelming and taking down the entire AT&T wireless network? At least that would make Google and Verizon happy.

The moral of the story is, be careful what data you put online, especially if you are a Chinese human rights activist.

But on a different topic altogether, there are some geeky ways to donate to the Haiti relief effort, such as Redcross via iTunes or texting “Haiti” to 90999.