posted on: Thursday February 25, 2010
Kevin Cassidy ’11 / World Editor
Google and several other American companies have been attacked online through computers at educational institutions in China. New reports from those involved in the investigations have been traced to schools with close ties to the Chinese military, according to The New York Times. Originally, it was believed that the attacks occurred sometime during the summer of 2009, but new reports indicate the Chinese started hacking in April of last year.On Jan. 12, Google first reported that it had been subject to sophisticated attacks that probably came from China. These attacks were aimed at stealing trade secrets and computer codes, as well as obtaining e-mails of Chinese human rights activists. Servers in Taiwan seem to be the source of the attacks according to the National Security Agency, who has been investigating the situation since Google first reported the problem.The National Security Agency has used expert tactics to trace the attacks back to a specific computer science class taught by a Ukrainian professor at a vocational school in China.The Jiaotong School has one of the top computer science programs. Some students of the school recently won a competition by IBM beating out such elite schools as Stanford University. The Lanxiang School was established with the support of the Chinese military and trains some students as scientists for the military. The school’s computer network is run by Baidu, the top Chinese search engine and prime competitor of Google.The United States government seems to have mixed opinions on the hacking by the Chinese schools. Some believe the Chinese government is behind the attacks, using the schools as camouflage for their operations.Others believe the schools were a false cover intelligence operation being run by a third country. The government believes the hacking is mainly to steal intellectual property from American companies.The Chinese have adopted a highly distributed approach to online espionage by making it nearly impossible for anyone to track where an attack first originated.