Digital News Report– Researchers from the University of Toronto’s Munk Centre for International Studies have uncovered a cyber-spy network based off of servers in China. The system, called Ghost Net, sends e-mails that introduce malware into host computers, which then sends information back to the main servers. It can also give control of the computers to the hackers who can then steal passwords, operate web cameras, and view files.
“What we were witnessing was an international crime taking place,” said Professor Ron Deibert, head of the Citizen Lab at Toronto’s Munk Centre, who co-authored the report that uncovered the network.
So far 1300 computers in 103 countries have been affected including journalists, embassies, government offices, and the office of the Dalai Lama. Many of the computers targeted have been Tibetan organizations, which has given the infection access to sensitive information.
“The most obvious explanation, and certainly the one in which the circumstantial evidence tilts the strongest, would be that this set of high profile targets has been exploited by the Chinese state for military and strategic-intelligence purposes,” the report states. Chinese authorities have used the information stolen by the malware, but they have so far the government has denied any involvement in the incident.