Shadows in the Cloud, a report released on Monday by the Munk School of Global Affairs in Toronto, recoumts the activities of Chinese internet hackers and the interception of their stolen documents over a period of eight months.
Some of the high-level classified information recovered by the investigation included documents pertaining to Indian national security and its diplomatic relations with various countries, NATO travel plans in Afghanistan, as well as a year’s worth of the Dalai Lama’s personal email correspondence. Unlike the GhostNet publication of March last year, which only showed malicious trojan viruses sent from China to specific targets, Shadows in the Cloud managed to recover the stolen data, proving the dangerous threat posed to international security by such operations. IP tracking managed to locate some of the hackers to Chengdu, but as is often the case such networks operate throughout the whole country. Although the attacks cannot be proven to be politically motivated, Nart Villeneuve, one of the main researchers of the group, has commented that given the sophisticated level of the operations, and the fact that the stolen documents correlates “with the strategic interests of the Chinese state”, it is plausible that some of the stolen data “may have ended up in the possession of some entity of the Chinese government.”
Ron Deibert and Rafal Rohozinski, two of the leading members of the research group, has recently written an article on Cyber War for Index on Censorship, as well as another article on internet espionage published on Monday.