Intel says hackers attacked around time Google hit

A sign is shown at the entrance to the headquarters of Intel Corporation in Santa Clara, California February 2, 2010. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Intel Corp said it faced a “sophisticated” hacker attack in January about the same time as the recently publicized Chinese hacker attacks on Google Inc but said there was no clear link between the two events.

“The only connection is timing,” Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy said, declining to elaborate. The company first publicized the attack and pointed out the similarity in timing to the move on Google in its annual filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Mulloy added that hackers attempt to gain unauthorized access to Intel systems on a “very regular” basis.

Asked whether Intel had spoken or worked with Google on this issue, Mulloy said: “Our security folks work very closely and collaboratively throughout the industry.”

A Google spokesman said the company would not comment on whether Intel was one of the roughly 20 unnamed companies that the world’s No. 1 Internet search engine said had been similarly targeted in attacks that originated in China. The Wall Street Journal has said around 30 companies were attacked.

The attack was just one of what the world’s largest chipmaker said were regular attempts on its computer systems, Intel said in the filing, under a heading about potential theft or misuse of the company’s intellectual property.

Intel did not say who was behind the attacks, from where in the world they originated, or what information, if any, had been taken.

Intel shares were down 54 cents or 2.6 percent at $20.33 on Nasdaq.

Reporting by Ian Sherr, additional reporting by Alexei Oreskovic; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Gerald E. McCormick