Monday, March 30, 2009

Wide Cyber Attack Is Linked to China

This is an ongoing situation. The military has already banned the use of the very popular "stick" drives in response to earlier attacks. Now that the evidence increasingly points to China as the culprit what will be our response? I'm sure Obama will want to have a good talk with them and that will solve everything....

From the WSJ:

Security researchers said they have discovered software capable of stealing information installed on computers in 103 countries from a network that targeted government agencies.

The software infected more than 1,200 computers, almost 30% of which were considered high-value targets, according to a report published Sunday by Information Warfare Monitor, a Toronto-based organization.Among the affected computers were those in embassies belonging to Germany, India, and Thailand, ministries of Iran and Latvia, and a computer network operated by the organization of the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader.

The researchers, who initiated the study at the request of the Tibetan exiles, say they observed documents being stolen from the Tibetan computer network. They said they traced the attacks to computers located in China, but didn't say who they thought was behind it.

A report by researchers at Cambridge University, also published Sunday, alleged the Chinese government or a group working closely with it was responsible for the attack on the Tibetans.
Officials at China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and State Council Information Office declined requests for comment Sunday. The Chinese government has repeatedly denied past allegations that it sponsors cyber attacks.

The researchers said officials working with the Dalai Lama became suspicious that their computers had been compromised after a foreign diplomat the office had contacted by email received a call from the Chinese government discouraging a meeting with the Dalai Lama. They contacted security researchers, who started an investigation in June 2008. The researchers said they discovered the other affected computers by monitoring the systems that had attacked the office of the Dalai Lama. The reports were first reported by the New York Times.

The apparent attacks are the latest to suggest cyberespionage is on the rise. Last year, Kevin Chilton, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, said military computer networks are increasingly coming under attack from hackers trying to steal information, many of whom he said appeared to have ties to China.

The number of targeted attacks suspected of being espionage attempts detected by researchers at MessageLabs, a division of Symantec Corp., jumped from one or two per week in 2005 to an average of 53 a day in 2008. (more)

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