The FCCC has confirmed eight cases in recent weeks in which journalists based in China and Taiwan have had their Yahoo email accounts hacked, with several accounts disabled by Yahoo on March 25. In one instance, a Beijing-based journalist’s account had an unknown forwarding address added, sending all the journalist’s messages to an unknown recipient.
Yahoo has not answered the FCCC’s questions about the attacks, nor has it told individual email users how the accounts were accessed. Password security and malware are ongoing concerns, but it’s unclear whether they are related to this case.
We recommend that you take particular care with any information sent by email, especially with any sensitive information sent via Yahoo accounts. Check your privacy and forwarding settings in all web-based mail (found in Yahoo under “mail options”). Change your secure passwords frequently, but please remain aware that this mode of communication ultimately can’t be considered private.
The FCCC reminds you that email does not appear to be secure in China, and that alternate means of arranging interviews and conducting other sensitive business are often preferable.
For tips on creating a strong password, please see: http://news.cnet.com/8301-19518_3-10310092-238.html
The FCCC has previously notified members to be cautious about malicious email attachments and provided some guidance on making Gmail secure. There have also been incidents in which the email of foreign correspondents’ local assistants have been targeted.