Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

China Denies Internet Espionage

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 21 comments

Canadian researchers are reporting that a spy network, known as GhostNet and based mainly in China, has infiltrated computers from government offices of several countries. Reports say India, Pakistan, Portugal and Germany are among those affected.

The report, penned by researchers at the Munk Center for International Studies at the University of Toronto, is based on a 10-month long investigation into alleged Chinese cyber-spying against Tibetan Institutions.

The Munk Center says that nearly 1,300 computers had been hacked using the malware which gives hackers the ability to extract top secret information from the compromised machines. Aside from the aforementioned nations, Iran, Indonesia, Brunei, as well as non-government organizations and the media were among the targets with a total of 103 countries affected. The report claims that up to 30 percent of the infected hosts are considered high-value targets.

GhostNet presents itself as an email attachment. Once opened, it directs infected computers to download a Trojan called gh0st RAT, which in turn gives hackers to “complete, real-time” control of the computer including searching and downloading specific files and operating attached peripherals such as webcams and mics. Once a machine is infected, files can then be “mined” for contact information, which is then used to spread the malware even further via email.

According to the report the researchers the GhostNet network had penetrated several machines containing sensitive and secret information at the private offices of the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan targets. Their investigations led them to a group of servers on Hainan Island, off China. Guardian UK reports that other servers they tracked were based in China's Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region, where intelligence units dealing with Tibetan independence groups are based.

China denies allegations that it is behind the espionage. According to Sky News, the Chinese government said in a written statement that there is “no evidence” to back up the report’s claims and dubbed it a propaganda campaign against the country. The Chinese Government was also quick to point out that the report was commissioned by the government of the the Dalai Lama.

Display 21 Comments.
This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 12 Hide
    Anonymous , March 30, 2009 6:04 PM
    LOL, you don't expect them to admit it do you? I guess what is more alarming then Chinese hacking is the fact that they can hit "high-value" targets with an e-mail attachment. Sheesh... idiot baby boomers are undoubtedly manning the helms of those systems. ;) 
  • 11 Hide
    rigaudio , March 30, 2009 6:05 PM
    People are still opening suspicious attachments?
Other Comments
  • 12 Hide
    Anonymous , March 30, 2009 6:04 PM
    LOL, you don't expect them to admit it do you? I guess what is more alarming then Chinese hacking is the fact that they can hit "high-value" targets with an e-mail attachment. Sheesh... idiot baby boomers are undoubtedly manning the helms of those systems. ;) 
  • 11 Hide
    rigaudio , March 30, 2009 6:05 PM
    People are still opening suspicious attachments?
  • 8 Hide
    oicw , March 30, 2009 6:25 PM
    Riiiiiight, and Western governments have never, ever, sent out any spies to foreign countries, nor were there any spy planes and spy satellites ever built. All those FBI, CIA, and other government defense and security sectors have never hacked a foreign country's computer system...

    So, the Chinese are doing it too, big surprise. Just another case of a country trying to gather / control foreign intelligence, and another story of hyping things up to grab people's attention. Surely if the Cdn government hacks/trojans a China server, it'll be in the name of world peace-keeping, right?
  • 5 Hide
    vherub , March 30, 2009 6:29 PM
    remove admin level powers from computer terminals that can open email attachments
  • 3 Hide
    grieve , March 30, 2009 7:23 PM
    I agree with oicw...

    If you consider there are over 1 Billion computers on the earth.. This type of activity from government agencies should almost be expected. Our Governments have done much worse things!
  • 0 Hide
    kamkal , March 30, 2009 7:30 PM
    lol the old email trick...

    "you must respond now or your (something important goes here) will be affected"

  • 0 Hide
    baov , March 30, 2009 8:40 PM
    China accusing others of propaganda is worth a good laugh. But in china's defense, they don't just deny their crimes all the time, they also boast about it most of the time too.
  • 0 Hide
    DeadlyPredator , March 30, 2009 9:09 PM
    Lol, and what? China is a democraty? There is no violence done to monks by chinesse army? I think it's time to cut those damn communists from internet or at least to filter them. They only want to prepare a mass disruption of western communications for an invasion.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , March 30, 2009 9:42 PM
    We should put a firewall around China and deny them any access to the outside world. Dont give em any trade or research. The world can still function without a China.
  • 2 Hide
    thepinkpanther , March 30, 2009 11:05 PM
    i love it when countries deny to espionage (yay i sounded out tat word correctly), why would u admit to espionage? thats why u do it, u want no 1 to find out!
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , March 31, 2009 12:51 AM
    sure this story paid by Dalai?
  • 0 Hide
    sonofliberty08 , March 31, 2009 3:14 AM
    US hacker done more good things than this ...... -___-
  • 0 Hide
    tayb , March 31, 2009 3:22 AM
    And that 9 year old girl with baby teeth is 15. Right.
  • 0 Hide
    tiredwolf , March 31, 2009 6:07 AM
    Woah woah waoh, put a big firewall around china? you mean like... the great firewall of china? xD
  • 0 Hide
    Tindytim , March 31, 2009 10:23 AM
    phantomtibWe should put a firewall around China and deny them any access to the outside world. Dont give em any trade or research. The world can still function without a China.

    Certainly not without dropping us into a huge depression. Not only is Chine an economic superpower, it has a large trade relationship with the United States (the superpower of the world) which would just drop the rest of the world further.
  • 0 Hide
    DeadlyPredator , March 31, 2009 1:39 PM
    TindytimCertainly not without dropping us into a huge depression. Not only is Chine an economic superpower, it has a large trade relationship with the United States (the superpower of the world) which would just drop the rest of the world further.

    The world would be better without China, no more dumping, less pollution, more jobs for western countries, more democraty, ...
  • 1 Hide
    Tindytim , March 31, 2009 1:55 PM
    deadlypredatorThe world would be better without China, no more dumping, less pollution, more jobs for western countries, more democraty, ...

    Democracy is hugely overated. Few people understand the difference between freedom and Democracy. China may do some ****ed up things, but the world economy is still hugely dependent upon it.

    The world would be better if more of my fellow Americans weren't so arrogant about their patriotism, but that isn't going to change the fact that American children are told over zealous crap in school.
  • 0 Hide
    tayb , March 31, 2009 5:15 PM
    TindytimDemocracy is hugely overated. Few people understand the difference between freedom and Democracy. China may do some ****ed up things, but the world economy is still hugely dependent upon it.The world would be better if more of my fellow Americans weren't so arrogant about their patriotism, but that isn't going to change the fact that American children are told over zealous crap in school.


    China is a shipping nation. They build the crap the rest of the world doesn't want to build and they ship it. I hardly think there aren't any other countries out there that could accomplish this including the United States. Made in China, designed and sold elsewhere.
  • -1 Hide
    dextermat , March 31, 2009 5:29 PM
    Lol china lieing again;
    i recall the same bullcrap in the last olympics.

    That what capitalist does to a nation. too bad people are so patethic

    But i guess USA spying on them too anyway.

    haha
  • 1 Hide
    pug_s , March 31, 2009 6:18 PM
    What they neglect to mention is that this report is also sponsored by TGIE (Tibetan Government in Exile.) It is like a study published by Philip Morris telling you that cigarettes are safe.
Display more comments