Report: Chinese Hackers Stole Indian Missile Secrets & the Dalai Lama's Email

By Andrew Moseman | April 6, 2010 11:34 am

DLamaDespite burning curiosity, I have no idea what the Dalai Lama writes in his personal emails. But somewhere in China, hackers know.

China-based hacking operations have moved from murmurs to the front page since the fracas between the Chinese government and Google flared up three months ago. Besides the communist government’s flagrant and unapologetic Internet censorship, the search giant also accused China of harboring hackers who were behind politically motivated cyber attacks, like the targeting of Chinese human rights activists’ Gmail accounts. This week, computer security experts at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto announced that they’ve been trailing a group of China-based attackers they dub the “Shadow Network” for eight months. And they say they can show that those hackers have stolen a plethora of politically sensitive materials.

The intruders breached the systems of independent analysts, taking reports on several Indian missile systems. They also obtained a year’s worth of the Dalai Lama’s personal e-mail messages. The intruders even stole documents related to the travel of NATO forces in Afghanistan [The New York Times]. They also took political documents that outlined India’s concerns about its relations with Africa, Russia, and the Middle East. The core servers for the operation seem to be based in the city of Chengdu in southwest China.

The report said it has no evidence of involvement by the Chinese government, but it again put Beijing on the defensive [Los Angeles Times]. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu bemoaned the widespread coverage of this, and insisted that the government has nothing to do with the attacks. But while the researchers behind the report, “Shadows in the Cloud,” don’t explicitly blame the Chinese government, they say they are watching to see whether the government takes any action to shut down these hackers.

Meanwhile, Google’s spats with governments aren’t over. As we reported last week, the company says that opponents to a bauxite mining project in Vietnam have been inadvertently downloading malware, and McAfee, the company that discovered the attack, says the malware created a botnet whose command-and-control systems were located within IP (Internet Protocol) address blocks assigned to Vietnam. “We believe that the perpetrators may have political motivations and may have some allegiance to the government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam,” wrote McAfee CTO George Kurtz [PC World]. Like the Chinese government, Vietnam’s denies these allegations and calls them “groundless.”

Related Content:
80beats: Google Exposes a Cyber Attack on Vietnamese Activists
80beats: Google Defies China’s Censorship Rules; China Quickly Strikes Back
80beats: Iran Blocks Gmail; Will Offer Surveillance-Friendly National Email Instead
80beats: Hillary Clinton to China: Internet Censorship Is an “Information Curtain”
80beats: Google to China: No More Internet Censorship, or We Leave

Image: flickr / abhikrama

  • Cassandra

    Shut down the IP blocks for China and Vietnam. Seal them off from the internet.

  • Steven

    Or just stop trying to be communists ourselves and let them do whatever the hell they want. We don’t control them or their gov’t. Honestly they could wipe us out easily.

  • Jennifer Angela

    Smart comment Steve (no kidding). I am surprised you were not blocked for that (I can assure you, that you would be blocked by certain other magazines). This seems to be an acceptive place.

  • jackie cox

    Its done by having corrupt administraitors who have access to peoples passwords, and other data, which unfortunately a lot of people use in all their links, rather than have a new password for each link.

    I use the same password, and name everywhere, and am aware of the ethnic groups web domains, and join these domains, then troll the same ethnic groups PR stunts across the internet, which they spend a lot of money to develop some expensive videos, then a few of their PR Stunt specialists, with a room full of laptops, and tons of names/profiles, and the post the videos on places like youtube, when you read the blogs behind the videos, they are trying to fill the internet with their idealogies, which are done so for commercial and political reasons. Since I don’t spam, and each post is original, with all statements being true, however, the statements destroy the intention of these phony video blog posts, angering them very very much.

    One of their webdomains administraitors, where I been a member of since 2003, gave my password to the PR Stunt teams. They then entered my youtube account and took it over and changed the password, email address, everything, so I could not use my youtube account. I reported it to google, and they said I had no proof the user page belonged to me, since they changed the name, etc to themselves. It took google a few weeks to figure it out, but they did, and some of their ID’s got banned, or deleted, and all my data was lost, It was worth it, google probably just added this data to an ever growing file, and are by now definately onto them.

    This group does virtually all of chinas industrial IT work, on the windows side, and build into the software the ability to have all recipiants emails go through them first, thereby virtually controlling their marketplace.

    All the hacking done by china is done under their direction, the chinese are just the go-betweens, mostly

  • Sam Pullus

    Hey, I lately arrived to this site and I’ve visited it everyday because that so that you can stay up to date. Keep up the excellent function.

  • ca guardcard

    It doesn’t seem like you update alot. I hope you havent given up. Keep going!:)


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