China has been implicated in a global online spying network which infected some 1,300 government computers from over a hundred nations; the network, dubbed “GhostNet”, stole industrial and commercial secrets but also targeted Tibet and Taiwan.
The computers compromised included those from a variety of embassies and ministries the world over.
The infiltration appears to have been perpetrated by way of the same malware technology used to orchestrate similar crimes, such as the creation of botnets for Distributed Denial of Service Attacks.
The network was uncovered by the investigations of the Information Warfare Monitor, a group which analyses the latest events in state hacking; their investigation lasted 10 months and was prompted by a request from the Dalai Lama’s staff to check their computers.
Reportedly, ministries in Iran, Bangladesh, Latvia, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei, Barbados and Bhutan had their computers compromised, whilst embassies belonging to India, South Korea, Indonesia, Romania, Cyprus, Malta, Thailand, Taiwan, Portugal, Germany and Pakistan were also affected.
The intrusions and information gathering apparently targeted predominantly Asian governments, with much of the activity amounting to “industrial espionage”, but much attention appears to have been directed towards Tibetan groups.
The IWM is concerned that this information in particular constitutes “actionable intelligence for use by the police and security services of a repressive state, with potentially fatal consequences for those exposed.”
Via the BBC.
Certainly this brings a whole new meaning to the term “spyware”…