Major cyber spy network uncovered

#1
Major cyber spy network uncovered

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7970471.stm

An electronic spy network, based mainly in China, has infiltrated computers from government offices around the world, Canadian researchers say. They said the network had infiltrated 1,295 computers in 103 countries. They included computers belonging to foreign ministries and embassies and those linked with the Dalai Lama - Tibet's spiritual leader. There is no conclusive evidence China's government was behind it, researchers say. Beijing also denied involvement.

The report comes after a 10-month investigation by the Information Warfare Monitor (IWM), which comprises researchers from Ottawa-based think tank SecDev Group and the University of Toronto's Munk Centre for International Studies. They were acting on a request from the Tibetan spiritual leader's office to check whether the computers of his Tibetan exile network had been infiltrated. Researchers found that ministries of foreign affairs of Iran, Bangladesh, Latvia, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei, Barbados and Bhutan appear to had been targeted. Hacked systems were also discovered in the embassies of India, South Korea, Indonesia, Romania, Cyprus, Malta, Thailand, Taiwan, Portugal, Germany and Pakistan.

Analysts say the attacks are in effect industrial espionage, with hackers showing an interest in the activities of lawmakers and major companies. The researchers said hackers were apparently able to take control of computers belonging to several foreign ministries and embassies across the world using malicious software, or malware. "We uncovered real-time evidence of malware that had penetrated Tibetan computer systems, extracting sensitive documents from the private office of the Dalai Lama," investigator Greg Walton was quoted by the Associated Press news agency as saying.

They say they believe the system, which they called GhostNet, was focused on governments in Asia. By installing malware on compromised computers, hackers were able to take control of them to send and receive classified data. In this case, the software also gave hackers the ability to use audio and video recording devices to monitor the rooms the computers were in. But investigators said they did not know whether or not this element had been used. According to the New York Times, the spying operation is the largest to have been uncovered in terms of the number of countries affected. In an abstract for the report entitled The Snooping Dragon: Social Malware Surveillance of the Tibetan Movement - posted on the IWM website - investigators said while such attacks were not new, these particularly stood out for their ability to collect "actionable intelligence for use by the police and security services of a repressive state, with potentially fatal consequences for those exposed".
Dodgy fcukers.
 
#3
This has been given a generous amount of airtime on BBC,so there is(or would seem) to be something true about it.

The Chinese have denied the story,so it must be true.
 
#5
I'm truly gobsmacked. They don't usually get caught.

The list of targets makes for interesting reading, the expected names are there but the unexpected ones seem to be linked by ocean transit/sea lanes rather than trade or resources. Why anyone would care about what the Romanians think is beyond me. An insight into NATO or just a target of opportunity?

P.S. a very patient lady who once tried to teach me Mandarin told me that, "only a low sort of person" ate dog. Mind you, she was from Dalian - those Manchu airs...
 
P

PrinceAlbert

Guest
#8
Recently there was a virus caught on one of the RAFs servers that was redirecting emails to China. God bless the RAF.
 

Command_doh

LE
Book Reviewer
#9
This is very old news. Just like the fact the Chinese have 'Divisions' of nerds whose sole purpose it is to hack DoD, MoD, Foreign Office, Dept Of State, NSA, etc computers. I beleive in all but the last case they have had triumphs, albeit with varying degrees of sucess.
 
#10
Command_doh said:
This is very old news. Just like the fact the Chinese have 'Divisions' of nerds whose sole purpose it is to hack DoD, MoD, Foreign Office, Dept Of State, NSA, etc computers. I beleive in all but the last case they have had triumphs, albeit with varying degrees of sucess.
Would we notice if they stuck a virus or two or even fully hacked into JPA, Dii et al??

Might even make them work. We should give the chinks the next contract for an MoD puter system.
 
#12
Command_doh said:
This is very old news. Just like the fact the Chinese have 'Divisions' of nerds whose sole purpose it is to hack DoD, MoD, Foreign Office, Dept Of State, NSA, etc computers. I beleive in all but the last case they have had triumphs, albeit with varying degrees of sucess.
It may be old news in principle, but in this case the information provided is very specific. See here for some detailed analysis, courtesy of a gentleman with a good reputation in the information security world.
 
#13
#14
The Germans of all people recently set up a "counter cyber warfare" unit, although when asked the Colonel in command said they could also be "pro-active" :wink:
 
#16
Quel surprise.

The timing of this report's release was remarkably convenient for the DL, though, blowing any coverage of 'National Serf Liberation Day' off the front pages in the West.

PRC has still to learn good propaganda, the 'Tibetan Government in Exile' are past masters at it. They've got enough bought-in expertise, after all.
 
#17
An old one, but a good one. been doing the rounds for a while, no-one really read it, or we would be much more careful.

How much aggressive hacking does it take before it becomes an act of war? Do you wait until people die following an unauthorised shut down of the power grid or water supply?
 
#18
WhiteHorse said:
An old one, but a good one. been doing the rounds for a while, no-one really read it, or we would be much more careful.

How much aggressive hacking does it take before it becomes an act of war? Do you wait until people die following an unauthorised shut down of the power grid or water supply?
And a few of the ones who did read it went off at the deep end. A treatise on how to bring non-military power to bear in the event of the balloon going up was touted as a master-plan for taking over the world.

Economic warfare is far more suited to this kind of thing than grand Bond-villain-esque plots. Money these days is just electrons moving from point to point. If you control the electrons you control international trade and through that, national economies.
 
#20
CivTech said:
I would not say concerned but would suggest that you not send emails or post to forums using words like "ch*nk" or :ch*naman". Also, if you email jokes about "Ch*nks" they might get your IP adress, hack into your ISP for your physical address, hunt you down and kill you.

Seriously (for a moment) it reminds me of last year when Walmart was selling digital picture frames from Ch*na in the US that would load a Trojan into your computer as soon as you connected the frame. It would then send passwords etc to an IP address in Ch*na.

Also last year IIRC, Seagate discovered that media they purchased from said country to assemble into very large disk drives came to the US with a trojan already of the disks. This was a bit scarier as the very large drives were the sort used on network servers used by corporations and government agencies.
 
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