News / Asia

Report: China-based Hackers Stole Indian Secrets, Compromised Networks Around Globe

A group of Canadian computer security researchers have released Tuesday a new report that shows how a China-based cyber spying ring used popular Web social networking services and email accounts to steal national security information from the Indian government and hack into business and computer networks in countries across the globe.

Researchers at University of Toronto's Citizens Lab say they monitored the activities of the cyber spy ring for eight months. During that time, researchers say they observed how the hacking operation, called the "Shadow Network," used popular Internet services such as Twitter, Google Groups and Yahoo Mail to break into computers and take information from Indian diplomatic offices in Moscow, Kabul, Abuja and Dubai.

The report says that the data stolen from computers in India included documents marked "secret" and "confidential." The data included information about missile systems, China-India relations as well as business, personal and financial information.

Confidential visa applications from citizens of more than a dozen countries were also among the documents stolen.

Researchers say they also recovered 1,500 e-mails sent from the Dalai Lama's office between January and November of last year.

According to the report, computers were compromised in every continent across the globe, except for Australia and Antartica.

Ronald Deibert, a member of the Tornoto team says that what Citizens Lab uncovered was only the result of partial observations of the "shadow network's operations". "Although India comes out looking obviously, quite compromised, quite bad here, the network itself could have compromised many, many other victims. We only had a little slice of what we were able to observe," he said.

Nart Villeneuve, another member of the team says that while the report traces the source of the attacks to computer servers in the central city of Chengdu, China,  there was no hard evidence linking the attacks to the Chinese government.

"In fact, we've actually had very healthy cooperation with the Chinese CERT, the Computer Emergency Response Team, who are actively working to understand what we've uncovered. And have indicated, that they will work to deal with this BOTNET they way they deal with any other BOTNET to investigate it and shut it down," he said.

He says that the cooperation of China's CERT has been a very encouraging development.

The report notes, however, that an important question on the road ahead is whether or not the Chinese government takes action to shut the network down.

Villeneuve adds that finding out who was ultimately behind the attacks is not easy. He notes that targets of China's hacking community are wide and varied as is the makeup and factions within the Chinese government and its military. "I don't doubt that some of the sensitive information that was aquired, might eventually find its way to elements within the Chinese government that might find it useful. But I don't think there is any direct connection between the attackers and the government. At least at this time," he said.

He adds that the reasearch highlights a growing problem of abuse of computer infrastructure in China and the increasingly blurred lines between cyber crime and cyber espionage. "There is growing evidence that a lot of cyber criminal groups that used to operate in Russia and the Ukraine have moved a lot of their infrastructure to servers in China," he said.

Deibert says that as country's around the globe - the United States included - rush to militarize cyber space and adopt offensive military attack capabilities it is creating a new market for cyber criminals that needs to be addressed. "It's that climate, I think, that creates opportunities for cyber crime to find a market for political espionage," he said.

There was no immediate comment from India's government on the report, but China's Foreign Ministry responded by questioning the motives of those releasing the report.

Foreign Mininistry spokeswoman Jiang Yu was quoted by state media in China as noting that hacking is an international issue that should be dealt with by joint efforts from around the globe.

You May Like

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs