Sunday, 31 January 2010

How to beat a spammer

Spam messages are an incredible nuisance for most web users. But, now scientists claim to have developed an effectively "perfect" method for blocking the most common kind of spam, using spammers’ own trickery.

An international team, led by International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley and California University, has come up with a system that deciphers the templates a “botnet” is using to create spam. These templates are then used to teach filters what to look for, the ‘New Scientist’ reported. According to the scientists, the system works by exploiting a trick that spammers use to defeat email filters.

As spam is churned out, subtle changes are typically incorporated into the messages to confound spam filters. Each message is generated from a template that specifies message content and how it should be varied.

The team reasoned that analysing such messages could reveal the template that created them. And, since the spam template describes the entire range of the emails a bot will send, possessing it might provide a watertight method of blocking spam from that bot.

To test their idea, the team installed a previously captured software bot onto a machine. After analysing 1,000 emails generated by this compromised machine, less than 10 minutes’ work for most bots, the scientists were able to reverse-engineer the template.

Knowledge of that template then enabled filters to block further spam from that bot with 100% accuracy. The new system did not produce a single false positive when tested against more than a million genuine messages and the biggest advantage is this false positive rate, team member Andreas Pitsillidis said.

“This is an interesting approach which really differs by using the bots themselves as the oracles for producing the filters,” added Michael O’Reirdan , chairman of the messaging anti-abuse working group, a coalition of technology companies.

Friday, 29 January 2010

Apple's bookstore for iPad

Apple chief executive Steve Jobs announced on Wednesday the launch of an online bookstore dubbed "iBooks" for his company's new touchscreen tablet computer, the iPad.

"We've got five of the biggest publishers in the world supporting us and will open the floodgates for the rest of the publishers starting this afternoon," Jobs said at an event during which he unveiled the iPad.

"Amazon has done a great job of pioneering this functionality with the Kindle," Jobs said. "We are going to stand on their shoulders."

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Apple unveils iPad tablet

Apple Inc Chief Executive Steve Jobs took the wraps off the "iPad" tablet on Wednesday, looking to define a new category of wireless device that will play video, games and all sorts of other media.

Jobs, who returned to the helm last year after a much-scrutinized liver transplant, is hoping to sell consumers on the value of tablet computing after numerous technology companies had failed to do so in recent years.

Called the "iPad," the device is Apple's biggest product launch since the iPhone three years ago, and arguably rivals the smartphone as the most anticipated in Apple's history.

After months of feverish speculation on the Internet and among investors, Jobs took the stage at a jam-packed theater in San Francisco and, with his famed showman's flair, began detailing the device's basic features. The iPad has a near life-sized touch keyboard and supports Web browsing.

It comes with a built-in calendar and address book, Jobs said. Technology enthusiasts had expected to see a sleek, full-color, 10-inch gadget with a touchscreen interface and wireless connectivity, designed for snacking on all sorts of media from videos to games to electronic books and newspapers.

Despite the buzz surrounding the launch and Apple's storied golden touch on consumer electronics, the tablet is not necessarily an easy sell, analysts say.

Consumer appetite for a gadget that sits somewhere between a smartphone and a laptop has yet to be proven, though plenty of devices such as's Kindle e-reader are vying for that market. Apple had been mum, so the market had been rife with speculation about the device. Shares of Apple have generally risen ahead of Wednesday's event.

The stock slipped on Nasdaq to about $201.67, still within reach of its all-time high of $215.59 logged on Jan. 5. As iPod sales wane, Apple is looking for another growth engine and hopes to find one in the tablet. But the move is not without risk. Consumers have never warmed to tablet computers, despite many previous attempts by other companies.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Astronaut sends first 'tweet' from space

An American astronaut sent the first "tweet" from space on Friday after getting a personal Web connection on the International Space Station.

Timothy "TJ" Creamer, a NASA flight engineer, sent the Twitter message from his @Astro_TJ account.

"Hello Twitterverse! We r now LIVE tweeting from the International Space Station -- the 1st live tweet from Space! :) More soon, send yours," Creamer wrote.

NASA said Creamer was the first astronaut to send an "unassisted" Twitter message from space.

Previous "tweets" from space were actually sent by astronauts by email to the ground and support personnel posted them to their Twitter account.

The US space agency said Creamer was able to use Twitter directly because a software upgrade this week gave astronauts aboard the space station personal access to the Internet via what NASA called the "ultimate wireless connection."

The new communication system gives astronauts access to the Web and will provide them with "direct private communications to enhance their quality of life during long-duration missions," NASA said.

Two other astronauts aboard the space station, commander Jeff Williams and Soichi Noguchi of Japan, also have a Twitter account at @NASA_Astronauts.

China slams US criticism of Internet control

China needs no lessons about its Internet from the United States, the head of an online media association said through official media on Saturday, after the United States rapped Beijing over information freedom.

Following a speech by U Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on Thursday, Beijing has issued a stinging response that it is jamming the free flow of words and ideas on the Internet, accusing the United States of damaging relations between the two countries by imposing its "information imperialism" on China. In her speech in Washington, Clinton cited China as among a number of countries where there has been "a spike in threats to the free flow of information" over the past year. She also named Tunisia, Uzbekistan, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam. Washington, meanwhile, carried its message on Internet freedom directly to Chinese bloggers. The U S Embassy in Beijing, and consulates in Shanghai and Guangzhou, hosted Internet-streamed discussions with members of the blogging community on Friday afternoon - the latest example of Washington's outreach to Chinese bloggers as a way of spreading its message.

Clinton's speech came on the heels of a Jan. 12 threat from Google to pull out of China unless the government relented on censorship. Eric Schmidt, Google's chief executive, said on Thursday that the company hoped to find a way to maintain a presence in China but intended to stop censoring search results within "a reasonably short time."

"On the Internet question, China doesn't need any lessons from the United States on what to do or how," said Min Dahong, Chairman, Beijing Association of Online Media.

Internet control is considered a critical matter of state security in China, and Beijing is not expected to offer any concessions. Beijing promotes Internet use for commerce, but heavily censors content it deems pornographic, anti-social or politically subversive and blocks many foreign news and social media sites, including Twitter and Facebook and the popular video site YouTube.

Responses to the Google issue have ranged widely among Chinese Internet users, with some placing flowers at its Beijing headquarters and others penning screeds bidding good riddance.

U S State Department officials have said they intend to lodge a formal complaint with Chinese officials soon over the Google matter. Clinton not only urged China to investigate the cyber intrusions but openly publish its findings.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Google to stop censorship in China

Google chief executive Eric Schmidt said on Thursday that the Internet giant is still censoring Web search results in China but that will change in a "reasonably short time from now."

"We're in conversation with the Chinese government," Schmidt told financial analysts in a conference call after releasing Google's fourth quarter results.

"Our business in China is today unchanged," said Schmidt, speaking a little over a week after the Internet giant revealed it had come under attack from cyber spies based in China.

"We continue to follow their laws, we continue to offer censored results," Schmidt said. "But in a reasonably short time from now we will be making some changes there."

Schmidt did not provide any further details. Google said last week that it would no longer censor Web search results in China even if that meant it had to shut down its business operations there and leave the country.

Schmidt said Google would like to remain in China. "We made a strong statement that we wish to remain in China," he said. "We like the Chinese people, we like our Chinese employees.

"We like the business opportunities there, but we'd like to do that on somewhat different terms than we have," Schimdt said.

The Google chief executive also said the cyberattacks on Google and other companies which targeted Chinese human rights activists were "still under investigation."

"We believe we've made the necessary technical changes to prevent such a future attack," he said.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Apple bans Dalai Lama apps in China

Apple is reported to be blocking iPhone apps related to Dalai Lama and exiled leader Rebiya Kadeer from its China App Store. IDG, publisher of Macworld, Computerworld, PC World and other magazines, said the move would make Apple the latest US technology company to censor its services in China. It said five iPhone applications related to the Tibetan spiritual leader were unavailable in the China store, as was one related to Kadeer, the US-based leader of China's largely Muslim Uighur community. In a statement to IDG, Trudy Miller, an Apple spokeswoman, said: 'We continue to comply with local laws. Not all apps are available in every country.'

Thursday, 21 January 2010

India Inc buys 143 US cos in 2 yrs

The greater engagement of US with India seems to have benefited the former during the economic downturn as thousands of Americans managed to save their jobs when Indian corporates went on a major acquisition drive in the US.

During the last two years, Indian companies acquired 143 US firms across various sectors. While 94 deals were concluded in 2007-08, in the following year when the economy was on the downturn, Indians bought as many as 50 US entities that were on the verge of closure, saving thousands of jobs.

A study, jointly conducted by Indian industry association FICCI and Ernst & Young, said Tata Chemicals, Wipro, Reliance Communications and Firstsource Solutions were some of the top Indian entities that were involved in bailing out US companies in the red.

The report released on Thursday said IT&ITeS, manufacturing and pharmaceuticals were the prime sectors in which most of the deals were formalised. Indian companies from the IT sector have over the years been aggressively expanding in the US market.

The deals were predominantly debt financed with cash being a popular mode of payment. "This trend probably extends from India Inc's traditional preference for cash transactions in the domestic merger and acquisition space," the report observed.

The Ernst & Young report says the boom in the Indian economy in the last three to four years made the domestic companies cash-rich which provided them with access to more capital than in the past.

Interestingly, one of the key factors, as the report cites, behind more acquisitions has been the liberal policies introduced by the government and RBI for overseas investments.

According to RBI data, in 2007-08 the total outbound investments of Indian companies amounted to $18 billion. In the first half of 2008-09, at least 2,000 proposals valued at $9 billion were cleared for overseas investments in joint ventures and wholly owned subsidiaries.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Google, don’t be evil on India!

It seems Google has forgotten to follow its `Don’t be Evil’ motto when it comes to the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. Controversy has once again surrounded search engine giant Google. Strangely, for a second time, it revolves around its depiction of Arunachal Pradesh.

If you browse through Google Maps, the application has at least three different versions on the state either a part of India or China, and a third as a disputed territory. All this despite fact that the north eastern state has a democratically elected government and should so not be an undisputed territory in any case.

What throws up when you open Google India is politically correct Arunachal Pradesh remains a part of India. If you open the Google Maps’ China edition, Arunachal Pradesh would show itself as an undisputed part of China, the whole of it. But when you open the map available on the international edition, Arunachal Pradesh is shown as a disputed territory, a third version on the north eastern state.

Google has reacted to its three different takes on Arunachal Pradesh. Claiming it is only following standard practice to show all disputed regions around the world on its global properties, depict disputed regions as per the claims made by the disputing or claiming nations. Adding it does not in any way endorse or affirm the position taken by any side but merely provides complete information on the prevailing geo-political situation.

“Products that have been localized to the local domain of a region may depict that country's position as per the mandate of their local laws. As in the case of Google India and Google China,” Google said in a statement.

Remember in August this year, Google Earth came in for sharp criticism in India for what Google subsequently described as a mistaken use of Chinese script to mark areas in Arunachal Pradesh. “Earlier this week, as part of routine update to Google Earth, we published new data for the Arunachal Pradesh region that changed the depiction of certain place names in the product. The change was a result of a mistake in our processing of new map data,” said Google in an earlier statement.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Google’s China hack, an insider’s job?

Google is investigating whether one or more employees may have helped facilitate a cyber-attack from China that the US search giant said it was a victim of in mid-December, two sources told Reuters.

Google, the world's most popular search engine, said last week it may pull out of the world's biggest Internet market by users after reporting it had been hit by a "sophisticated" cyber-attack on its network that resulted in theft of its intellectual property.

The sources, who are familiar with the situation, told Reuters that the attack, which targeted people who have access to specific parts of Google networks, may have been facilitated by people working in Google China's office.

"We're not commenting on rumour and speculation. This is an ongoing investigation, and we simply cannot comment on the details," a Google spokeswoman said.

Security analysts told Reuters the malicious software (malware) used in the Google attack was a modification of a trojan called Hydraq. A trojan is malware that, once inside a computer, allows someone unauthorised access. The sophistication in the attack was in knowing whom to attack, not the malware itself, the analysts said.

Local media, citing unnamed sources, reported that some Google China employees were denied access to internal networks after January 13, while some staff were put on leave and others transferred to different offices in Google's Asia Pacific operations. Google said it would not comment on its business operations.

Google, which has denied rumours that it has already decided to shut down its China offices, said on Monday it contacted the Chinese government last week after the announcement.

"We are going to have talks with them in the coming few days," Google said. Google is also still in the process of scanning its internal networks since the cyber-attack in mid-December.

China has tried to play down Google's threat to leave, saying there are many ways to resolve the issue, but insisting all foreign companies, Google included, must abide by Chinese laws.

Washington said it was issuing a diplomatic note to China formally requesting an explanation for the attacks.

The Google issue risks becoming another irritant in China's relationship with the United States. Ties are already strained by arguments over the yuan currency's exchange rate, which US critics say is unfairly low, trade protectionism and US arms sales to Taiwan.

Washington has long been worried about Beijing's cyber-spying programme. A congressional advisory panel said in November the Chinese government appeared increasingly to be penetrating US computers to gather useful data for its military.

Monday, 18 January 2010

'China tried to hack India's computers'

Chinese hackers have tried to penetrate computers in the offices of National Security Adviser MK Narayanan, a British paper quoted him as saying.

Narayanan said his office and other government departments were targeted on December 15, the same date that US defence, finance and technology companies, including Google, reported cyber attacks from China.

"This was not the first instance of an attempt to hack into our computers," Narayanan told The Times in an interview, adding the would-be hackers sent an e-mail with a PDF attachment containing a Trojan virus.

The virus, which allows hackers to download or delete files, was detected and officials were told not to log on until it was eliminated, Narayanan said.

"People seem to be fairly sure it was the Chinese. It is difficult to find the exact source but this is the main suspicion. It seems well founded," he told The Times, adding that India was cooperating with the US and Britain to bolster its cyber defences.

The Chinese government has denied any role in the attacks, with a foreign ministry spokeswoman saying: "Hacking in whatever form is prohibited by law in China."

Narayanan said that while he expected China to be an increasingly high security priority for India, the main threat still came from militants based in Pakistan.

He said Islamabad had done nothing to dismantle militant groups since the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, and criticised Britain for accepting its excuse that such groups were beyond its control.

"The British are still blinkered on this. We believe Pakistan's policy of using terror as a policy weapon remains," Narayanan said, adding India is anxious to prevent an attack from Pakistan during the Commonwealth Games in October.

"From Pakistan's point of view, it's important to disrupt the Games so you can claim that India is not a safe place," Narayanan said.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Facebook lands women into Dark Net

A mother and her two daughters logged onto Facebook from mobile phones last weekend and wound up in a startling place - strangers' accounts with full access to troves of private information.

The glitch - the result of a routing problem at the family's wireless carrier, AT&T - revealed a little known security flaw with far reaching implications for everyone on the Internet, not just Facebook users.

In each case, the Internet lost track of who was who, putting the women into the wrong accounts. It doesn't appear the users could have done anything to stop it.

The problem adds a dimension to researchers' warnings that there are many ways online information - from mundane data to dark secrets - can go awry.

Several security experts said they had not heard of a case like this, in which the wrong person was shown a Web page whose user name and password had been entered by someone else. It's not clear whether such episodes are rare or simply not reported. But experts said such flaws could occur on e-mail services, for instance, and that something similar could happen on a PC, not just a phone.

"The fact that it did happen is proof that it could potentially happen again and with something a lot more important than Facebook," said Nathan Hamiel, founder of the Hexagon Security Group, a research organization.

Candace Sawyer, 26, says she immediately suspected something was wrong when she tried to visit her Facebook page Saturday morning.

After typing into her Nokia smart phone, she was taken into the site without being asked for her user name or password. She was in an account that didn't look like hers. She had fewer friend requests than she remembered. Then she found a picture of the page's owner.

"He's white, I'm not," she said with a laugh. Sawyer logged off and asked her sister, Mari, 31, her partner in a dessert catering company, and their mother, Fran, 57, to see whether they had the same problem on their phones.

Mari landed inside another woman's page. Fran's phone - which had never been used to access Facebook before - took her inside yet another stranger's page, one belonging to a young woman from Indiana. They sent an e-mail to one of their own accounts to prove it.

They were dumbfounded. "I thought it was the phone. Maybe this phone is just weird and does magical, horrible things and I have to get rid of it," said Candace Sawyer.

The women, who live together in East Point, Georgia, outside Atlanta, had recently upgraded to the same model of phone and all used the same carrier, AT&T. The problem wasn't in the phones. It was a flaw in the infrastructure connecting the phones to the Internet.

That illuminates a grave problem. Generally Web sites and computers are compromised from within. A hacker can get a Web page or computers to run programming code that they shouldn't. But in this case, it was a security gap between the phone and the Web site that exposed strangers' Facebook pages to the Sawyers. Misconfigured equipment, poorly written network software or other technical errors could have caused AT&T to fumble the information flowing from the Sawyers' phones to Facebook and back.

AT&T spokesman Michael Coe said its wireless customers have landed in the wrong Facebook pages in "a limited number of instances" and that a network problem behind those episodes is being fixed.

It's unclear how many people were affected by the problem the Sawyers discovered, and whether it was limited to Facebook.

The reason all three women experienced the glitch is a function of the way cellular networks are designed. In some cases, all the mobile Internet traffic for a particular area is routed through the same piece of networking equipment. If that piece of equipment is misbehaving or set up incorrectly, strange things happen when computers down the line receive the data.

Usually that means a Web site simply won't load, said Alberto Solino, director of security consulting services for Core Security Technologies. In the Sawyers' case, ``somehow they got the wrong user but they could keep using that account for a long period of time. That's what's strange,'' he said.

The AP tried to contact two of the people whose Facebook pages were exposed to the Sawyers, but the calls and e-mails were not returned. It's unclear whether they are also AT&T customers, though security experts said that's likely the case.

Indeed, it was the case in a similar incident in November. Stephen Simburg, 25, who works in marketing, was home for Thanksgiving in Vancouver, Washington, when he logged onto Facebook from his cell phone. He didn't recognize the people who had written him messages.

"I thought I had gotten really popular all of a sudden, or something was wrong," he said. Then he saw the picture of the account owner, A young woman.

He got her e-mail address from the site, logged off and wrote the woman a message. He asked whether he had met her at some point and she had borrowed his phone to check her Facebook account. "No," she wrote back, "but I was just telling my family that I ended up in your profile!"

Simburg and the woman figured out they were both using AT&T to access Facebook on their phones.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

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For the latest models of mobiles one can visit the Latest Mobile Phones section. This section not only offers banking options, hot deals and discounts etc., but it also helps prospective buyers zero in on a particular model that is best suited for them. One more thing to say is that you can find all models of mobiles from 1k to a whopping 1 lakh price range that include almost all brands of mobile phones.. If you are of the money savvy kind you can go for Haier mobiles which offer greater features at extremely low cost in the Haier Mobile Phone section. If a consumer is unsure of what mobile to buy, there's a Mobile Guru section that asks its user a series of multiple choice questions and suggests mobiles based on the user given options.

The site also has the LCD TV and Laptop Categories apart from the Mobile Phones Category. Interesting laptop deals can be found in the Laptop Prices in India section. Also its worthy to say that Digit Test Center, India's No.1 Research Lab provides expert reviews and ratings for all these gadgets. I hope you will find a good time buying from ConsumerMate. Good Luck!

IE flaws led to Google hack

The Chinese managed to hack Google accounts of human activists and many businesses as they took advantage of vulnerabilities in Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) browser which were previously unknown, according to reports.

Google has threatened to close its operations and offices in China after hacking and "phishing" attempts to break into gmail accounts of US, China and Europe based Chinese human rights activists.

The company, which agreed to censor of at its launch in 2006, has also said it is "no longer willing to continue censoring our results on"

Reports quoted security researcher McAfee Inc. as saying that IE is vulnerable on all of Microsoft's operating systems, including Windows 7.

What is now termed as 'operation Aurora', is being perceived as a quite sophisticated attack. the report added that 'phishers' fooled users into clicking on a link to a website. This website then secretly downloaded malicious software onto their computers. The spyware allowed the hackers to take remote control of the computers.

Microsoft has already admitted in its blog that IE browser might be used by hackers to remotely spy on infected computers. It is likely to unveil a software update for the browser. "We need to take all cyber attacks, not just this one, seriously," Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer told CNBC. "We have a whole team of people that responds in very real time to any report that it may have something to do with our software, which we don't know yet," he said.

Google has said that "these accounts have not been accessed through any security breach at Google, but most likely via phishing scams or malware placed on the users' computers."

Friday, 15 January 2010

We will stay in China: Microsoft

Microsoft Corp has no plans to pull out of China, its chief executive has said, playing down concerns about recent cyber-attacks and censorship raised by rival Google Inc.

The company's stance indicates the world's largest software maker is not likely to support its fierce rival in its battle with China and rebuffs broad US political backing for Google.

"There are attacks every day. I don't think there was anything unusual, so I don't understand," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told Reuters after a meeting on modernizing government services at the White House.

"We're attacked every day from all parts of the world and I think everybody else is too. We didn't see anything out of the ordinary."

Recently, Google threatened to pull out of China - the world's biggest Internet market by users - citing censorship and cyber attacks on rights activists' email accounts there.

Google claimed more than 20 other large companies had been the target of cyber-attacks originating in China, but Microsoft has said it has no evidence any of its e-mail services or corporate networks being specifically attacked.

When asked if Microsoft had any plan to pull its business out of China, Ballmer answered "No."

"I don't understand how that helps anything. I don't understand how that helps us and I don't understand how that helps China," Ballmer said.

Microsoft has high hopes for its Bing Internet search engine in China, which has only a small share of the market, but could benefit if Google, the No. 2 player behind dominating local rival Baidu Inc, pulls out.

Ballmer's comments run counter to broad political support for Google. The White House said on Thursday it is backing Google's decision to no longer support China's censoring of searches.

A group of Republican lawmakers on Thursday called for tech heavyweights Cisco Systems Inc, Yahoo Inc and Microsoft to speak out against censorship, while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged tech companies not to assist China's attempts to prohibit free exchange of ideas.

Facebook to give McAfee security to all users

Facebook, in collaboration with McAfee is going to provide all of its 350 million users with a free six-month security trail pack of McAfee's INternet Security Suite.

The popular social networking site Facebook has taken this step after various cyber attacks such as the 'Koobface virus'.

Facebook said that a scanning tool will also be provided to its users whose computers have fallen prey or show signs of being attacked. This scanning tool is also being offered without any cost as such. The new scanning tool is available immediately for English-language users of Facebook, with versions for other languages coming soon.

After the 6-month trial period, the subscription will be available at a discount for Facebook users.

This will protect users from online threats such as hackers, viruses, trojans, spyware etc.

"We feel like we've done a great job in protecting our network and accounts on Facebook, but we're always looking at ways we can do better," said Facebook spokesman Barry Schnitt.

Facebook users in the United States, Britain, France and eight other countries have immediately access to the free version of McAfee Internet Security Suite, with additional countries to come through the first three months of the year. Those in India might have to wait just a little bit linger.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Google opens Docs to all files

GDrive is still speculative, but Google is surely giving you a `hard drive’ in the cloud. Firing another salvo in its war to control the cloud, Google has announced that it is rolling out the ability to upload all file types to the cloud through Google Docs.

Very soon, Google Docs users will be able to store their important files online, where they can access them easily and share them with others.

According to a post on The Official Google Blog, "Over the next few weeks, we’re rolling out the ability to upload all file types to the cloud through Google Docs, giving you one place where you can upload and access your key files online."

Google Docs now supports files up to 250 MB in size, which is larger than the attachment limit on most email applications, claims the company. Users will be able to backup large graphics files, RAW photos, ZIP archives and much more to the cloud.

More importantly, instead of carrying a USB drive, users can now use Google Docs as a more convenient option for accessing their files on different computers.

In addition to uploading any file into Google Docs, Google Apps Premier Edition customers can also seamlessly upload many files at once and sync them with their desktop in real time using third-party applications.

According to the Google blog, the feature will be enabled in users' accounts over the next couple of weeks. So, keep looking for the bubble notification when you sign in to Google Docs.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Google may pull out of China

Google Inc said it may pull out of China because it is no longer willing to accept censorship of search results and after hackers coordinated a sophisticated attack on email accounts of human rights activists using its Gmail service.

Google's surprise announcement on Tuesday came shortly after an adviser to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she will announce a technology policy next week to help citizens in other countries to gain access to an uncensored Internet.

More than 20 other companies were also attacked by the China-based hackers, Google said. Google said the hackers had tried to access the Gmail email accounts of Chinese human rights activists but only managed to access two unidentified accounts, and then only headlines and other data such as when the account was created.

It did not say what information the hackers tried to access from the other corporations, nor which they were. Google said it was now notifying the other affected corporations, adding that it was working with the US authorities.

"These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered -- combined with attempts over the past year to limit free speech on the Web -- have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China," Google said in a statement.