China based network infiltrated Computers: Canadian Researchers

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by Pintu, Mar 29, 2009.

  1. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    According to The Voice of America, the Canadian Researchers said to have discovered that a large China-based electronic spying operation infiltrated computers and stole information from the Govt. and Private offices around the World, including that of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.


    The report from VOA News and the link are as follows:

    http://www.voanews.com/english/Africa/2009-03-29-voa10.cfm

    Researchers Say China-Based Network Infiltrated Computers
    By VOA News
    29 March 2009


    Chinese workers take a break near a robot outside a computer mall in Beijing, China, 19 Mar 2009
    Chinese workers take a break near a robot outside a computer mall in Beijing, China, 19 Mar 2009
    Canadian researchers say they have discovered a large China-based electronic spying operation that infiltrated computers and stole information from government and private offices around the world, including the Dalai Lama.

    The New York Times and the Associated Press quote researchers at the University of Toronto as saying close to 1,300 computers in 103 countries were affected.

    The article says embassies, foreign ministries, government offices and Tibetan exile centers in several countries were affected, but that there is no evidence that U.S. government offices were breached.

    The researchers say they were able to track the hacking effort to computers in China, but were unable to identiffy exactly who was behind the operation. The spy system appeared to be focused on governments of South Africa, Southeast Asia and the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader.

    The Chinese Consulate in New York called the accusation nonsense.

    The New York Times says the researchers began their investigation after a request from the Dalai Lama office in India. It says that two specialists found that intruders had stolen files from personal computers serving several Tibetan exile groups.

    The researchers say the spy network possessed remarkable capabilities, including camera and audio-recording functions of infected computers for potential in-room monitoring.

    Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.
     
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  3. EnlightenedMonk

    EnlightenedMonk Member of The Month JULY 2009 Senior Member

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    I'm not surprised... this is what the Chinese do for a living... stealing other peoples' data, products etc. and making cheap local copies...
     
  4. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    ^^^ Monk please don't generalize 1.3billion people.. such racial/national generalizations are not what we are looking for....
     
  5. EnlightenedMonk

    EnlightenedMonk Member of The Month JULY 2009 Senior Member

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    Oh, and would you then put a refreshing twist on the entire case ??? I can't find any other way to look at it.. it was a national generalization, not a racial one...
     
  6. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    http://www.ptinews.com/pti\ptisite.nsf/0/30186A874FB9BBFB65257588005A42BB?OpenDocument

    Chinese hack into computers in India, 102 other countries



    Bal Krishna
    Toronto/New Delhi, Mar 29 (PTI) A Chinese cyber spy network has hacked into nearly 1,300 computers across 103 countries, with India being the fourth-worst victim, and the infected machines include those at Indian embassies and other government organisations.

    About one-third of the hacked computers include those possibly containing classified data and installed in embassies, government offices and many high-profile private organisations, Canada-based internet research firm Information Warfare Monitor (IWM) found in an investigation.

    The investigation was focused on allegations of Chinese cyber espionage against the Tibetan community, IWM said, adding that the research revealed at least 1,295 infected computers in 103 countries. Taiwan was targeted most, followed by the US, Vietnam and India, IWM said in a report.

    About 30 per cent of the computers hacked into by the network, named GhostNet by IWM, can be considered high-value diplomatic, political, economic and military targets.

    The list of affected computers include those at the Indian embassies in the US, Belgium, Germany, and Italy; the High Commissions of India in Cyprus and the UK; the National Informatics Centre, Software and Technology Parks of India, Office of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in Exile in India. PTI
     
  7. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    http://www.vnunet.com/vnunet/news/2239400/massive-chinese-cyber-hack

    Massive Chinese cyber hack revealed

    Reports reveal over 1000 computers were hacked

    Phil Muncaster

    vnunet.com, 29 Mar 2009

    Canadian researchers have revealed an extensive Chinese spying operation, which involved the hacking of over 1000 computers in 103 countries, according to reports in several leading newspapers today.

    The new report from the Information Warfare Monitor, a group comprising researchers from Ottawa-based think tank SecDev Group and the University of Toronto's Munk Centre for International Studies, was originally set up to investigate allegations of Chinese snooping on Tibetan exiles.
    Advertisement

    However, the research ended up uncovering a much larger scale operation, eventually taking ten months to complete.

    According to a report in The Independent, the researchers uncovered a network involving 1,295 compromised computers from the ministries of foreign affairs of Iran, Bangladesh, Latvia, Indonesia, and others, and embassies including India, South Korea, Indonesia, Germany and Pakistan.

    Computers in the offices of the Dalai Lama in India, Brussels, London and New York, were also compromised.

    The network, dubbed GhostNet, used malware to penetrate PCs, conduct covert monitoring and steal files, according to the reports. The malware could also switch on the audio and camera equipment sometimes built-in to PCs in order to monitor those in the same room as those computers, the reports said.

    "This report serves as a wake-up call... these are major disruptive capabilities that the professional information security community, as well as policymakers, need to come to terms with rapidly,” the researchers are quoted as saying in The Guardian.

    Althought GhostNet is thought to have been controlled from Chinese PCs, the researchers were not able to make any firm link to Chinese government agencies. The team has now notified law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, according to reports
     
  8. EnlightenedMonk

    EnlightenedMonk Member of The Month JULY 2009 Senior Member

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    Of course, I can't prove anything, but if their track record is anything to go by, I'm sure their upstanding Government is also hand-in-glove in this entire incident...
     
  9. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Internet in China is controlled by the government so the hacking,spyware and malware would also be.
     
  10. EnlightenedMonk

    EnlightenedMonk Member of The Month JULY 2009 Senior Member

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    Thanks... nice analogy...
     
  11. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    Rightly said , when especially the targets were Embassy s including India and His Holiness Dalai Lama, even Pakistan were also not spared.
     
  12. yang

    yang Regular Member

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    how can the Canadian know

    The report came from the United States "New York Times" website, reported on March 28,In the artical,the editor used seditious words,and tried their best to decribe China as a horrible guy who has invaded computers in about 103 countries ,and he said the news was based on the investigation of Canadian experts.But how can the Canadian say that?Which countries has no spy ?Mentioned spy ,no country in the world can compared to Canada and America,but if the media reports some countries more often,then they will give a more impressive impression.And this is called the effects of the media.
    And even the Canadian conciously claimed that they can't gain a clear idea whether the acts have any relationship with the Chinese government,the American artical led us to the Chinese government.
     
  13. EnlightenedMonk

    EnlightenedMonk Member of The Month JULY 2009 Senior Member

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    I do have a soft corner for the people of China, but not for the Government of your country which behaves like a local school bully (thug) to say the least...

    This is not the first incident of Chinese based hacker groups serially targetting foreign countries to try and gain some of their intelligence. This is only the first "high profile" incident of many in the past. What makes this one so unique was that it was a brazen attack.

    Of course the Canadian used so-called "Seditious" words... no condemnation of this is adequate and not enough condemnation has been saddled on your Government IMHO.

    The fact is that Internet is fully controlled by the Government in China and I believe your Government was fully aware of what these hacker groups were doing. I also think that your Government might have been a recipient of the stolen data.

    China is a growing country on the world stage and has recently acquired a lot of economic and military clout to go with that image and now it's trying to strong arm everybody to toe its line... also stooping to the extent of petty thievery to achieve what it wants...

    I will not buy the argument that it was a random hacker group... I think it was fully Government sponsored hack to try and get information which embassies generally don't secure too well... If it was a random group, there'd have been random targets, but thats not the case...

    These were well selected target which would further the cause of China by way of them getting hold of sensitive information, strategies etc.
     
  14. yang

    yang Regular Member

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    I think you may speak highly of the government,if the gov is great as you think then China's computers won't get attacked by the heckers,but to the opposit,it's common to find network crime.And you have under estimate the youngsters in China,they use the illegal action to fight againest the aggression.
    And I don't think a country can prosper by a little information stolen by the hecker.And I have confidence on the foreign defence system.
    If I remenber correctly,In 2008,an incident had happened in India ,which a Indian special service was recalled from Beijing because he had fellen in love with his Chinese teacher whom was thought to be the Chinese secret service.So the secret services are common in the countries all over the world,and we all adult,we may know that.

    EDIT: Use Quote.

    -Amar
     
  15. EnlightenedMonk

    EnlightenedMonk Member of The Month JULY 2009 Senior Member

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    Network crime is common... but it doesn't always target the West and enemies of China specifically. Network crime is generally common in nature and they do not target embassy computers in particular from which secret data can be gauged..

    And, this was done using spy-software. It wasn't that they hacker groups got together one fine day and started screwing all the foreign embassy computers. This had been going on for months together with the use of malware and spyware installed on the system. This only means that the hacking operation was a highly organized and potent attack which can only be done by professionals and not "kids" who want to get "aggressive" or want "revenge".

    It is also a well known fact that the Chinese Government employs groups of such hackers to target and take down installations. This time, they used the groups to target and steal information.

    Would you also deny that the Chinese government uses groups of English speaking youth to try and manipulate the opinions on website and for strict censorship ??

    Any country can prosper with a "small bit of information" provided that information is credible and of a secret nature. History is strewn full of such examples where even a bit of information changed the course of entire wars because somebody knew something top-secret that he shouldn't have known.

    And since these were Embassy computers, they are bound to contain top-secret information regarding the current state and strategic positions and analysis of countries and the Government which gets its hands on such information WILL DEFINITELY GAIN. It's not about the quantity of information, but its quality.

    The guy who was recalled in 2008 was an Embassy Staff. He had unfortunately fallen in love with a spy and it was suspected that he may reveal vital information. So, he was recalled. HE WAS NOT A SPY. The woman he'd fallen in love with was suspected to be a spy. This act of recalling is very routine in all embassies and foreign consulates.

    Its as simple as removing a computer from a network if there is a fear that it might be hacked. It's as simple as that. You remove the computer from the network, spruce up its defences and then possibly put it back on the network. Or, replace it with a more secure computer.

    The recalling of embassy staff and other personnel is routine business of any country and cannot be compared to STEALING DATA FROM OTHER SOVERIGN NATIONS' COMPUTERS.
     
  16. yang

    yang Regular Member

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    I don't think so.Some bad websites maybe forbiddened,but what the people think and what the people did are hard to regulate.And every country has its secret service .But I don't think the heckers in China are so great as supermen,and the defence system of the western aren't so weak.If we stole a piece of news ,they would stole more than ten times than us,they always think they are the most intelligent in the world ,aren't they?
     
  17. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...ing-Britain-to-a-halt/articleshow/4331993.cms

    'China can bring Britain to a halt'


    Intelligence chiefs have warned that China may have gained the capability to shut down Britain by crippling its telecom and
    utilities.

    They have told ministers of their fears that equipment installed by Huawei, the Chinese telecom giant, in BT’s (the main British telecom company) new communications network could be used to halt critical services such as power, food and water supplies. The warnings coincide with growing cyberwarfare attacks on UK by foreign intelligence services, particularly from Russia and China.

    A confidential document circulating in Whitehall says that while BT has taken steps to reduce the risk of attacks by hackers or organised crime, “we believe that the mitigating measures are not effective against deliberate attack by China”. It is understood that Alex Allan, chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, briefed members of the ministerial committee on national security about the threat from China at a top-secret Whitehall meeting in January.

    According to Whitehall sources, the meeting, led by home secretary Jacqui Smith, heard that ministers had “not paid sufficient attention to the threat in the past”, despite repeated warnings from intelligence services. These include warnings from the security arm of GCHQ, which expressed concern because British departments, the intelligence services and the military will all use the new BT network. A Whitehall report is understood to warn that, although there is a “low” risk of China exploiting its capability, “the impact would be very high”.

    Huawei was allegedly founded with significant funding from the Chinese state. Its head is Ren Zhengfei, a former director of an arm of the 3 million-strong People’s Liberation Army responsible for telecommunications research.

    Working through Huawei, China was already equipped to make “covert modifications” or to “compromise equipment in ways that are very hard to detect” and that might later “remotely disrupt or even permanently disable the network”, the meeting was told. This would be likely to have a “significant impact on critical services” such as power and water supplies, food distribution, the financial system and transport, which were dependent on computers to operate.
     

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