Chinese hackers miss Google network, but the checks go on

Google exec Schmidt says U.S. government networks are in danger 'because no one is there' during the shutdown to stop hackers

ORLANDO -- Eric Schmidt, Google's executive chairman, put a question to an audience Gartner's Symposium ITxpo here on Monday. "Raise [your] hand if you're sure the Chinese are not inside your corporate network."

Many of the 8,500 attendees were in the hall to hear the question, but only five hands were raised. "Congratulations," Schmidt said from the stage.

Getting more serious, Schmidt lamented the open pathways in corporate networks, letting hackers slip in via NT servers.

Schmidt suggested a better network would eliminate the corporate intranet.

"We're going to have just a network. We're going to make sure that gaining access is application to application," he said.

In an interview on stage with Gartner analysts David Willis and Drue Reeves, Schmidt was asked whether he's sure that Chinese hackers haven't penetrated Google's corporate network.

"We're quite sure they are not right now," said Schmidt of the Chinese, "although every second we check." The audience chuckled.

"I can be quite sure that the Chinese are visiting the U.S. government at the moment because no one is there," said Schmidt, a reference to the federal government shutdown.

Major vendors, and other companies, have faced attacks from China.

Meanwhile, when asked about the security of mobile devices running the Google built Android operating system, Schmidt said "it's more secure than the iPhone."

Patrick Thibodeau covers SaaS and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov, or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed . His email address is pthibodeau@computerworld.com.

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