L.A. Law Firm Reports Cyber Attack From China

A Los Angeles law firm representing a company suing China for allegedly stealing its software code announced its computers have come under a cyber-attack that originated in the Asian nation and that the FBI is investigating the attempted intrusion.

[See our original post about the lawsuit against China here].

Gipson Hoffman & Pancione, which is representing Santa Barbara-based CYBERsitter, LLC in a $2.2 billion lawsuit against China that was announced last week, states that malicious emails that can unleash "Trojan" code enabling the takeover of its computers has been sent to some of its addresses. But the company said it's not clear if any of the attempts were successful.

"Beginning Monday evening, attorneys at Gipson Hoffman & Pancione began receiving several targeted customized Trojan emails made to appear as if they were sent by other members of the firm," the organization states. "Unlike ordinary spam or virus emails, Trojan emails are specially constructed to retrieve data from the target's computer and often allow the sender to gain access to the target's computer or to the company's servers. It has not yet been determined whether any of the attempts were successful."

The suit against China alleges that the People's Republic's "Green Dam Youth Escort" censorship computer programs -- mandatory web filters that were later dropped by the government, illegally contained "over 3,000 lines of code from [the firm's] award-winning Internet content filtering software, CYBERsitter," according to a CYBERsitter statement.

Sony, Lenovo, Toshiba, Acer, ASUSTeK, BenQ and Haier were also named because, the lawsuit claimed, they shipped hardware with the allegedly pilfered code.

CYBERsitter also came under an attack in summer that appeared to have Chinese origins.

The latest attack happened during the same week Google reported that it might pull out of China after alleging that dissident users of its email service there were the focus of government cyber-spying.

Several other prominent tech companies, including Adobe Systems, have reported recent cyber-attacks believed to have originated in China.

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