WASHINGTON (AP): News Corp., publisher of The Wall Street Journal, said Friday that it had been hacked and had data stolen from journalists and other employees, and a cybersecurity firm investigating the intrusion said Chinese intelligence-gathering was believed behind the operation.
The Journal, citing people briefed on the intrusion, reported that it appeared to date back to February 2020 and that scores of employees were impacted. It quoted them as saying the hackers were able to access reporters’ emails and Google Docs, including drafts of articles.
News Corp., whose publications and businesses include the New York Post and Journal parent Dow Jones, said it discovered the breach on Jan. 20. It said customer and financial data were so far not affected and company operations were not interrupted.
But the potential impact on news reporting and sources was a serious concern. News organizations are prime targets for the world’s intelligence agencies because their reporters are in constant contact with sources of sensitive information. Journalists and newsrooms from Mexico and El Salvador to Qatar, where Al-Jazeera is based, have been hacked with powerful spyware.
Mandiant, the cybersecurity firm examining the hack, said in a statement that it “assesses that those behind this activity have a China nexus, and we believe they are likely involved in espionage activities to collect intelligence to benefit China’s interests.”