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

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid