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University Researchers Uncover Chinese Hacking Network

April 7, 2010

Researchers from the University of Toronto have uncovered a network of hackers, centered in China, which has used popular online services to obtain top secret information from the Indian government, according to reports that surfaced on Tuesday.

Greg Walton and his associates from the school’s Citizen Lab stated that they were able to observe the cyber attacks and traced them to servers located in China, and specifically to individuals located in the city of Chengdu–the home of the communist country’s military intelligence collection/technical reconnaissance bureaus.

According to their report, there was no evidence of direct involvement by the Chinese government. However, 1,500 emails from the Dalai Lama’s office were among the items stolen, as well as data pertaining to missile systems and other military equipment, and personal and financial information from citizens from more than 30 other nations.

The report, entitled “Shadows in the Cloud,” noted that they uncovered “complex ecosystem of cyber espionage that systematically compromised government, business, academic and other computer networks in India, the Offices of the Dalai Lama, the United Nations, and several other countries.”

In addition, they reported that they had “recovered one document that appears to be an encrypted diplomatic correspondence, two documents classified as ‘SECRET’, six as ‘RESTRICTED’ and five as ‘CONFIDENTIAL’,” according to an April 6 article by Michel Comte of the AFP.

During a Tuesday press conference, Walton claimed that the attacks were “very targeted and deliberate” and suggested that “a shift is occurring from criminal and industrial espionage in cyberspace to a possibility of political espionage, whether that is directed by government or not.”

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