It's been a few months since I mentioned China in a blog post, but this one can't be ignored. Thanks to SW for passing me this one:
Google Blog: A New Approach to China
In mid-December, we detected a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China that resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google...
First, this attack was not just on Google. As part of our investigation we have discovered that at least twenty other large companies from a wide range of businesses--including the Internet, finance, technology, media and chemical sectors--have been similarly targeted...
These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered--combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the web--have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China. We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.
Welcome to the party, Google. You can use the term "advanced persistent threat" (APT) if you want to give this adversary its proper name. See my post Report on Chinese Government Sponsored Cyber Activities for more details.
I have to really applaud Google for saying they might shut down operations in a country of 1.4 billion potential consumers as a result of an incident detection and response!
There were many events last year that fulfilled my prediction for 2009 Expect at least one cloud security incident to affect something you value. I think this one wins hands down.
Never mind the China angle for a moment. All of us should stop and consider what sort of data we are storing at Google, and in what form that data is stored. Google's Keeping Your Data Safe post for Enterprise customers claims While some intellectual property on our corporate network was compromised, we believe our customer cloud-based data remains secure. However, my experience with these sorts of incidents is that if it occurred in "mid-December," Google will be spending the next several months realizing how large the exposure really is.