Google was recently the victim of a hacking attack that was presumed to have originated in China. In the aftermath, Google declared that it was no longer willing to censor its search results in the country. However, as the Chinese government is extremely stringent about the webpages that are accessible to the populace, this could mean that Google would have to pull out their operations from China.

Microsoft has recently stated that a defect in the Internet Explorer allowed the hackers to gain access to Google’s systems. Mike Reavey, the director of Microsoft’s Security Response Center, wrote: “Based upon our investigations, we have determined that Internet Explorer was one of the vectors used in targeted and sophisticated attacks against Google and possibly other corporate networks.”

“Microsoft has not seen widespread customer impact, rather only targeted and limited attacks exploiting IE 6 at this time,” Reavey said. “Our teams are currently working to develop an update and we will take appropriate action to protect customers when the update has met the quality bar for broad distribution. That may include releasing the update out of band.”

Reavey observed that “complex attacks targeting specific corporate networks are becoming more prevalent”. Taking note of this disturbing trend, he advised organizations to follow “defence-in-depth best practices, and deploy multiple layers of protection”. He added that all companies should analyze potential security issues, and make sure that their security software is always updated.