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China refutes Google's claims that Gmail attacks originated in Jinan

Chinese state media says Google “arbitrarily pointing the finger at China” for a second time, after the internet company warned users it had detected a Gmail account hacking scame.

CHINA HAS reacted angrily to claims made by internet giant Google that hackers based in Jinan, China, were responsible for an attack on Gmail accounts.

Chinese state news agency Xinhua has accused Google of failing to provide “solid proof to support its statement”, saying that this is the “second time that Google arbitrarily pointed its finger at China” over online security issues.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post quotes a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson as saying Google’s “unacceptable” accusation is “a fabrication out of thin air”.

On its blog yesterday, Google announced it had discovered a phishing campaign aimed at tricking Gmail users into sharing their passwords. It also involved hacking other sites to access Gmail passwords. Google said it contacted the hundreds of victims of the scam, which included US government officials, journalists and Chinese political activists.

Maggie Shiels reports for the BBC that the targeted use of cyber attacks and hackers on the emails of US officials has been described as an epidemic. Dan Kaminsky of the security company DKH said that the number of attacks in which the hacker attempts to impersonate a specific victim is at “epidemic proprtions”.

Google earlier threatened to pull out of the Chinese internet market after accusing the government of supporting hacker attacks against it. The AFP reports that Beijing strongly denied the claims. Last year, Google moved its search functions to Hong Kong after a lengthy row over web censorship in China.

Read: Google uncovers Gmail attack aimed at tricking users into sharing passwords >