Computer attacks on Google that the search giant said originated in China are part of a concerted political and corporate espionage effort that exploits security flaws in e-mail attachments to sneak into the networks of major financial, defense and technology companies and research institutions in the United States, security experts have reported to the Washington Post. At least 34 companies — including Yahoo, Symantec, Adobe, Northrop Grumman, and Dow Chemical — have been attacked. Security experts say the attacks show a new level of sophistication, exploiting multiple flaws in different software programs and underscoring what senior administration officials have said over the past year is an increasingly serious cyber threat to the nation’s critical industries. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently urged China to investigate the accusations that Chinese hackers launched the cyber attacks. Chinese officials have denied government involvement and warned that everyone should follow the law.

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