China cyber-spies target India, Dalai Lama: report

Tue Apr 6, 2010 7:13pm EDT
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By Lucy Hornby and David Ljunggren

BEIJING/OTTAWA (Reuters) - A cyber-espionage group based in southwest China stole documents from the Indian Defense Ministry and emails from the Dalai Lama's office, Canadian researchers said in a report on Tuesday.

The cyber-spies used popular online services, including Twitter, Google Groups and Yahoo Mail, to hack into computers, ultimately directing them to communicate with command and control servers in China.

The report, entitled "Shadows in the Clouds", said the spy network was likely run by individuals with connections to the Chinese criminal underworld. Information might have been passed to branches of the Chinese government, it added.

"We did not find any hard evidence that links these attacks to the Chinese government," said Nart Villeneuve, who, like the other authors of the report, is a researcher at the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs.

"We've actually had very healthy co-operation with the Chinese computer emergency response team, who are actively working to understand what we've uncovered and have indicated they will work to deal with this ... It's been a very encouraging development," Villeneuve told a Toronto news conference.

In Beijing, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said Chinese "policy is very clear. We resolutely oppose all Internet crime, including hacking."

A year ago, the same researchers described a systematic cyber-infiltration of the Tibetan government-in-exile, which they dubbed GhostNet.

"The social media clouds of cyberspace we rely upon today have a dark, hidden core, There is a vast subterranean ecosystem to cyberspace within which criminal and espionage networks thrive," said the Munk School's Ron Diebert.   Continued...