China Behind Vast International Computer Spy Network?

March 29, 2009

(ChattahBox) — Canadian researchers have uncovered a vast electronic spying operation that infiltrated computers, observed and stole documents from government and private offices around the world, according to a New York Times story reported on Saturday. A team from the Munk Center for International Studies in Toronto said at least 1,295 computers in 103 countries had been breached in less than two years by the spy system, which it dubbed GhostNet.

The Toronto researchers began their investigation after a request from  the office of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, to examine its computers for signs of malicious software, or malware. The team discovered GhostNet used malware to infiltrate the systems, installing software on the compromised computers that sent and received data and turned on cameras and audio-recording functions of infected computers for potential in-room monitoring, the report said. The researchers eventually discovered a cyber espionage network involving  ministries of foreign affairs of Iran, Bangladesh, Latvia, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei, Barbados and Bhutan. They also discovered hacked systems in the embassies of Germany,  India, Romania, South Korea, Indonesia, Cyprus, Malta, Thailand, Taiwan, Portugal, and Pakistan. They found no evidence U.S. government offices were breached.

The report will be published in Information Warfare Monitor, an online publication linked to the Munk Center.  The research group said that while it’s analysis points to China as the main source of the network, it has not conclusively been able to detect the exact identity or motivation of the hackers. But there is some apparent evidence the Chinese government is involved.  For example, the Toronto researchers found:

After an e-mail invitation was sent by the Dalai Lama’s office to a foreign diplomat, the Chinese government made a call to the diplomat discouraging a visit. And a woman working for a group making Internet contacts between Tibetan exiles and Chinese citizens was stopped by Chinese intelligence officers on her way back to Tibet, shown transcripts of her online conversations and warned to stop her political activities.


Comments

8 Responses to “China Behind Vast International Computer Spy Network?”

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  3. simon on March 29th, 2009 9:16 am

    MacArthur was right. We should hav bombed them back into the stone age when we had the chance.

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  6. billy bob on March 29th, 2009 12:12 pm

    I have known about China hacking and spying for over 7 years. I had Tiny’s firewall and it had a trace function when someone tried to hack into my computer. 90% of the time it was an office building in Beijing or Peiking, China or however they spell it today. I am my own security and webmaster and I was very aware of this happening. You do not have access to a computer in China to hack someone else’s computer unless you have permission from the communist slave masters. Why do we trade with these people? Why do we allow their students to fill our graduate level courses in our universities?

  7. Hasib on March 29th, 2009 12:59 pm

    @simon

    and who are these “We”?

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