Just over two weeks after Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s Gmail email service was blocked in China, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) Outlook email service has suffered an attack in the country, a report from Reuters reveals.
The revelation comes from Internet censorship watchdog GreatFire.org which is also based in China. The organization said that Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) outlook as well as other email clients like Mozilla’s Thunderbird and smartphone applications using SMTP and IMAP email protocols were subjected to a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack.
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has not yet released a statement about the attack. MITM attacks happen when a person or organization commandeer a connection, Reuters notes, and then use a tap to snoop what is being sent through a connection. In other cases, the attackers can even control the flow of communication over a connection, the news agency adds.
According to GreatFire.org, it is their opinion that the Cyberspace Administration of China is stepping up disruption “on communication methods that they cannot readily monitor.”
The attack on the Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) email client is the latest in a string of controversies about cyber security, hacking and censorship in China. In December, people in the country reported through social media that they have lost all access to Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s Gmail email service.
Though officially withdrawn from the country, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s email service was still accessible to people in China through third-party applications, sometimes also through Outlook and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) services. After the block, access to Gmail through third-party apps were reportedly restored.
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) withdrew from China in 2010, moving its servers from the country to other parts of the world and moving its search engine to Hong Kong over concerns about censorship. China has a history of tightly controlling what its citizens can access through the internet, especially for content and traffic it deems as a threat to the ruling Communist Party.
By the end of 3Q2014, David Abrams’s Abrams Capital Management owned 4.98 million Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) shares. William Von Mueffling’s Cantillon Capital Management owned 512,006 Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) shares by the end of the same quarter.