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Attacks on Google linked to schools
Mon, 22nd Feb 2010
FYI, this story is more than a year old

The spate of online attacks on Google and many other UScompanies and organisations has been linked to two educational institutions inChina, one with ties to the military.

Google’s Chinese operation was hacked, as were the networksof a significant number of US businesses and agencies, in an attack dubbed ‘Aurora’.The attack prompted threats by Google to close its operation in China ratherthan submit to Chinese censorship rules. It is believed the hackers were after politicaland economic information, as well as email communications from Chinesedissidents.

China vehemently denied involvement, but the incidentprompted a speech by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, demanding thatChina investigate the attacks and calling for greater efforts to secure Internetfreedom (see March NetGuide, page 14).The US National Security Agency (NSA) joined a major investigation into thesource of Aurora.

Now investigators have traced the attacks back to computersat two educational institutions in China, the Shanghai Jiaotong University andthe Lanxiang Vocational School. Jiaotong has one of China’s top computerscience programs while Lanxiang trains soldiers in computer science. Computeranalysts have speculated in the past that the vocational school is a cover forgovernment activities.

The links are likely to be officially denied, or if stronglypressed, Chinese officials may put the attacks down to “patriotic volunteers”or mischievous students.