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Archive for the ‘Spyware’ Category

Google’s Password Control System attacked by Cyber hacking from China

Posted by Author on April 20, 2010


By JOHN MARKOFF, New York Times, April 19, 2010 –

Ever since Google disclosed in January that Internet intruders had stolen information from its computers, the exact nature and extent of the theft has been a closely guarded company secret. But a person with direct knowledge of the investigation now says that the losses included one of Google’s crown jewels, a password system that controls access by millions of users worldwide to almost all of the company’s Web services, including e-mail and business applications.

The program, code named Gaia for the Greek goddess of the earth, was attacked in a lightning raid taking less than two days last December, the person said. Described publicly only once at a technical conference four years ago, the software is intended to enable users and employees to sign in with their password just once to operate a range of services.

The intruders do not appear to have stolen passwords of Gmail users, and the company quickly started making significant changes to the security of its networks after the intrusions. But the theft leaves open the possibility, however faint, that the intruders may find weaknesses that Google might not even be aware of, independent computer experts said.

The new details seem likely to increase the debate about the security and privacy of vast computing systems such as Google’s that now centralize the personal information of millions of individuals and businesses. Because vast amounts of digital information are stored in a cluster of computers, popularly referred to as “cloud” computing, a single breach can lead to disastrous losses.

The theft began with an instant message sent to a Google employee in China who was using Microsoft’s Messenger program, according to the person with knowledge of the internal inquiry, who spoke on the condition that he not be identified.

By clicking on a link and connecting to a “poisoned” Web site, the employee inadvertently permitted the intruders to gain access to his (or her) personal computer and then to the computers of a critical group of software developers at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Ultimately, the intruders were able to gain control of a software repository used by the development team…….(New York Times)

Posted in Business, China, Company, cyber attack, Google, hacking, Internet, News, Politics, Social, Spyware, Technology, USA, Virus, World | Comments Off on Google’s Password Control System attacked by Cyber hacking from China

Symantec finds China top source of malware attacks- targeting businesss directors

Posted by Author on March 26, 2010


by Lance Whitney, Via Cnet.com, Mar. 26, 2010-

More malware is now coming out of China than from any other country, according to a new report from Symantec.

The United States still leads the world in the number of malware attacks sent from mail servers. Symantec’s report (PDF) found U.S. mail servers responsible for distributing 36.6 percent of all global malware in March, followed by China at 17.8 percent and Romania at 16.5 percent.

Symantec captured these results by analyzing the IP addresses of sending mail servers. The company uncovered a large amount of malware from the United States in large part because many Web-based e-mail services, such as Gmail and Yahoo Mail, are hosted in the U.S.

But analyzing the source of malware based on the mail servers doesn’t tell the full picture as the sender can use any Web-based e-mail account. By checking the actual sender’s IP address found in the e-mail’s header, Symantec found individuals in China responsible for 28.2 percent of malware, Romania for 21.1 percent, and the U.S. for 13.8 percent. Overall, the analysis discovered that most of the attacks coming from mail services in North American actually stem from other regions, including Asia, Europe, and Africa.

(Credit: Symantec)

“When considering the true location of the sender rather than the location of the email server, fewer attacks are actually sent from North America than it would at first seem,” Paul Wood, a senior analyst at Symantec’s MessageLabs Intelligence, said Thursday in a statement. “A large proportion of targeted attacks are sent from legitimate webmail accounts which are located in the US and therefore, the IP address of the sending mail server is not a useful indicator of the true origin of the attack.”

China, of course, has been in the news lately due to its ongoing battles with Google over search and censorship. China has also been tagged as the source of the cyberattacks launched against Google and other companies.

In its latest analysis, Symantec also discovered more malware targeted to people with specific job roles. The five leading titles hit by malware now include director, senior official, vice president, manager, and executive director. The people receiving a higher number of attacks are typically in charge of foreign trade and defense policy, especially related to Asian countries, said the report.

E-mail file attachments hiding malware continue to be a popular method of attack. The most common types of files found in such e-mails were .xls (Microsoft Excel) and .doc (Microsoft Word) documents. Along with .zip and .pdf files, these four accounted for 50 percent of the files attached to malicious messages this month…… (more details from CNet)

Posted in China, Internet, News, Software, Spyware, Technology, Virus, World | 2 Comments »

China Authorities Behind Google Attack, Researcher Claims

Posted by Author on January 15, 2010


By Gregg Keizer, Computer World, January 15, 2010 –

Computerworld –  The malware used to hack Google is so sophisticated that researchers brought in by the company to investigate believe the attack code was designed and launched with support from Chinese authorities.

According to Carlos Carrillo, a principal consultant for Mandiant, a Washington D.C.-based security incident response and forensics firm, the attack against Google last month was “definitely one of the most sophisticated attacks I’ve seen in the last few years.”

Mandiant was called in by Google to look into the attack, and Carrillo was the project manager for the Google investigation. During an interview Friday, he frequently chose his words carefully, saying that there was much he couldn’t discuss because the work was ongoing.

“The malware was unique,” Carrillo said. “It had unique characteristics … it was … let’s just say it was unique.”

Other researchers who have examined the malware have also come away impressed. Thursday, Dmitri Alperovitch, vice president of threat research at McAfee, called the attack code “very sophisticated” and added, “We’ve never seen anything this good in the commercial space. In [attacks on] government, yes, but not commercial.”

But what does that kind of expertise mean?

Carrillo is convinced that, given the sophistication of the code, it was produced with support from Chinese authorities. “This wasn’t on the level of Metasploit,” Carrillo said, referring to the open-source penetration testing framework whose exploits are often used by hackers to craft malware. “This wasn’t something that a 16-year-old came up in his spare time.”

When asked if the code quality pointed toward Chinese state support, Carrillo answered, “I would say so.” He declined to elaborate.

Mandiant was called in to investigate the attack on Google “early in the process,” said Carrillo, who refused to get more specific. McAfee’s Alperovitch said that time stamps in the malware’s command-and-control log files indicated the attacks began in mid-December and ended Jan. 4, when the hackers’ servers were shut down.

In the announcement Tuesday that its corporate network had been hacked and intellectual property stolen, Google said the attacks had been discovered in mid-December. Google also said the attacker tried to access the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists, a move that — along with increasing censorship of the Web by China’s government — has prompted it to reevaluate its business in the country.

Carrillo also provided additional information to the still-sketchy framework of the attack, saying that the exploit of a vulnerability in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer was not the only vector used by the hackers. That seemed to back up Microsoft’s assertion that the IE bug wasn’t the sole cause of the break-ins…… (more details from Computerworld)

Posted in Business, China, Company, Computer, email, Google, Human Rights, Internet, News, Politics, Software, Spyware, Technology, website, World | 1 Comment »

Technology Companies Should Resist China’s Censorship Attempts, HRW says

Posted by Author on June 19, 2009


Human Rights Watch, June 19, 2009 –

(New York)
– The computer industry should make it clear to the Chinese government that it will not cooperate in efforts to curtail access to information on the internet through government-mandated or provided filtering software such as the “Green Dam Youth Escort” program, Human Rights Watch said today.

Despite domestic and international criticism, the Chinese government has apparently not reversed its initial demand that companies pre-install Green Dam on all personal computers by July 1. This week, a Washington-based group representing leading information technology companies issued a brief statement urging the Chinese government to “reconsider implementing its new mandatory filtering software requirement,” but to date has received no response indicating the new requirement would be rescinded.

“The government’s order to install censorship software represents a grave threat to freedom of expression in China,” said Arvind Ganesan, Business and Human Rights Program director at Human Rights Watch. “The Green Dam technology highlights Beijing’s ongoing efforts to intensify its chokehold on Chinese citizens’ internet access and the need for computer software and hardware firms to resist complicity in those efforts.”

Green Dam is ostensibly designed to filter out pornography and other “unhealthy information” from the internet, but reportedly is also programmed to censor content ranging from political information to websites catering to the needs of China’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. Green Dam is not transparent and does not facilitate users choosing which sites or terms to block or allow. Numerous commercial parental-control software packages are already widely available in China, including products sold by Microsoft.

Human Rights Watch said that instead of providing the promised protections, the Green Dam software could instead pose a serious new threat to free expression if industry leaders do not actively oppose any new efforts by the Chinese government to reintroduce mandatory pre-installation of Green Dam or other filtering software in the future. In addition to the censorship threat, the software could further intrude on user privacy, undermine user choice, and have the potential to make multinational companies complicit in those efforts.

According to the Open Net Initiative and other research institutions, Green Dam has serious security vulnerabilities that leave users vulnerable to hacking and could ultimately allow the government to track users’ browsing habits and communications. While the Chinese government has recently announced that it would issue security patches to fix some flaws in the software, it is not a sufficient step to address all the problems that the software creates for human rights.

“The controversy over Green Dam is just the latest attempt to make computer, software and internet companies complicit in China’s attempts to censor the internet,” said Ganesan. “It is critical for the industry to draw a line and make it clear to the government that it won’t sacrifice ethical principles and international human rights standards for profit.”

In a letter to major computer makers, including Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo, Human Rights Watch expressed concern about the May 19 directive, “Notification Regarding Requirements for Pre-Installing Green Filtering Software on Computers,” and its human rights implications for companies in China and abroad. …… (more details from Human Rights Watch)

Posted in censorship, China, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet, Law, News, Politics, Software, Spyware, Technology, World | 1 Comment »

Experts Say China Filter Would Make PCs Vulnerable

Posted by Author on June 13, 2009


By ANDREW JACOBS, New York Times, USA, June 12, 2009-

BEIJING
— Filtering software that the government has mandated for all new computers in China is so technically flawed that outsiders can easily infiltrate a user’s machine to monitor Internet activity, steal personal data or plant destructive viruses, experts who have studied the program say.

“It contains serious vulnerabilities, which is especially worrisome given how widely the software will be adopted,” said J. Alex Halderman, a computer science professor at the University of Michigan who examined the program. “What we found was only the tip of the iceberg.”

Known as Green Dam-Youth Escort, the software must be preinstalled on all personal computers sold in China by July 1. The government has said it will pay for the software for at least a year as part of its campaign against “unhealthy and vulgar” material on the Internet.

Foreign computer makers, which learned of the directive just three weeks ago, have been asking Chinese officials to reconsider the rules, which were formulated without their consultation. They say there are too many unanswered questions about the software, including whether it has the potential to damage operating systems.

Human rights advocates and the ranks of China’s Internet users have been especially critical, saying Green Dam, promoted by the government as a tool allowing users to protect themselves or their children against pornography on the Web, is really a thinly concealed attempt by the government to expand censorship.

“Their goal is to limit the access of information, not just pornography,” said Li Fangping, a rights lawyer in Beijing who is challenging the government directive. “I feel like as a citizen, my right to know has been violated.”

Software engineers who have examined Green Dam in recent days say it is designed to do more than filter out adult content. Deep inside the program, they say, are data files with the sorts of search terms and key words the authorities use to block certain topics, including Falun Gong, the banned spiritual movement, and the 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square.

“To us, it shows that the government fears it is losing control over the flood of information on the Internet,” said Isaac Mao, a fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, who has studied Green Dam’s coding. …… ( more details from New York Times)

Posted in censorship, China, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet, News, Politics, Software, Spyware, Technology, World | Comments Off on Experts Say China Filter Would Make PCs Vulnerable

China-based network caught in cyber-espionage

Posted by Author on March 29, 2009


AFP, Mar. 28, 2009 –

OTTAWA (AFP) — A shadowy cyber-espionage network based mostly in China has infiltrated government and private computers around the world, including those of the Dalai Lama, Canadian researchers said Sunday.

The network, known as GhostNet, infected 1,295 computers in 103 countries and penetrated systems containing sensitive information in top political, economic and media offices, the researchers said in a report.

Many of the compromised computers were found in the embassies of Asian countries, such as India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Thailand and Taiwan.

The embassies of Cyprus, Germany, Malta, Portugal and Romania as well as the foreign ministries of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Iran and Latvia were also targeted, and in most cases staff remained unaware that their systems had been attacked.

“Up to 30 percent of the infected hosts are considered high-value targets and include computers located at ministries of foreign affairs, embassies, international organizations, news media and NGOs,” the report said.

The report, by the group Information Warfare Monitor, was commissioned by the Dalai Lama’s office alarmed by possible breaches of security.

The 10-month investigation by specialists based at the University of Toronto found the spying was being done from computers based almost exclusively in China.

But researchers said while its findings were disturbing there was no conclusive evidence the Chinese government was involved, highlighting that China now had the world’s highest number of Internet users.

“We do not know the motivation or the identity of the attackers or how to accurately characterize this network of infections as a whole,” the report said.

“Attributing all Chinese malware to deliberate or intelligence gathering operations by the Chinese state is wrong and misleading,” the report said.

“The sheer number of young digital natives online can more than account for the increase in Chinese malware.”…… (more from AFP)

Posted in China, Internet, News, People, Politics, Software, spy, Spyware, Technology, website, World | 1 Comment »

Taiwan legislator warns of China spyware in military hardware

Posted by Author on January 13, 2009


Taiwan News, Staff Writer, 2009-01-13 –

The military could be leaking secrets if using computers made in China, an opposition lawmaker said yesterday.

The Ministry of National Defense recently bought notebook computers from China which could compromise state secrets if they had been infected by viruses and spy software programs, said Lawrence Kao, a legislator for the Democratic Progressive Party.

The army headquarters had recently awarded bids for 51 computers to a supplier who did not buy the notebooks from Taiwanese manufacturers, but from suppliers in China, Kao said. At a news conference at the Legislative Yuan yesterday, he also accused the supplier of contracting out repair work to China.

Chinese intelligence services could plant software programs inside the computers which could then be used to collect military secrets from their Taiwanese users, Kao said.

The DPP lawmaker accused the military of being too lax about supervising its key suppliers and the sources of its equipment. It was high time for the ministry to review its procurement procedures and the origin of the products it was using, Kao said.

There has been concern for some time that in the event of a cross-straits conflict, China would not try for the long-feared tactic of a costly all-out invasion of the island, but would instead wage electronic warfare to try and paralyze the Taiwanese military’s communications and information systems.

eTaiwan News

Posted in Asia, Business, China, Company, Computer, Economy, Law, military, News, Politics, products, Software, Spyware, Taiwan, Technology, World | Comments Off on Taiwan legislator warns of China spyware in military hardware

Mocmex, An Insidious Computer Virus Made in China, Have Larger Targets

Posted by Author on February 25, 2008


Deborah Gage, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer, Friday, February 15, 2008-

An insidious computer virus recently discovered on digital photo frames has been identified as a powerful new Trojan Horse from China that collects passwords for online games – and its designers might have larger targets in mind.

“It is a nasty worm that has a great deal of intelligence,” said Brian Grayek, who heads product development at Computer Associates, a security vendor that analyzed the Trojan Horse.

The virus, which Computer Associates calls Mocmex, recognizes and blocks antivirus protection from more than 100 security vendors, as well as the security and firewall built into Microsoft Windows. It downloads files from remote locations and hides files, which it names randomly, on any PC it infects, making itself very difficult to remove. It spreads by hiding itself on photo frames and any other portable storage device that happens to be plugged into an infected PC.

The authors of the new Trojan Horse are well-funded professionals whose malware has “specific designs to capture something and not leave traces,” Grayek said. “This would be a nuclear bomb” of malware.

By studying how the code is constructed and how it’s propagated, Computer Associates has traced the Trojan to a specific group in China, Grayek said. He would not name the group.

The strength of the malware shows how skilled hackers have become and how serious they are about targeting digital devices, which provide a new frontier for stealing information from vast numbers of unwary PC owners. More than 2.26 million digital frames were sold in 2007, according to the Consumer Electronics Association, and it expects sales to grow to 3.26 million in 2008.

The new Trojan also has been spotted in Singapore and the Russian Federation and has 67,500 variants, according to Prevx, a security vendor headquartered in England.

Grayek said Mocmex might be a test for some bigger attack, because it’s designed to capture any personal, private or financial information, yet so far it’s only stealing passwords for online games.

“If I send you a package but it doesn’t explode, why did I send it?” he said. “Maybe I want to see if I can get it out to you and how you open it.”

The initial reports of infected frames came from people who had bought them over the holidays from Sam’s Club and Best Buy. New reports involve frames sold at Target and Costco, according to SANS, a group of security researchers in Bethesda, Md., who began asking for accounts of infected devices on Christmas Day. So far the group has collected more than a dozen complaints from people across the country.

The new Trojan isn’t the only piece of malware involved. Deborah Hale of Sans said the researchers also found four other, older Trojans on each frame, which may serve as markers for botnets – networks of infected PCs that are remotely controlled by hackers.

There is W32.Rajump, which deposits the same piece of malware that infected some of Apple’s video iPods during manufacturing in October 2006. It gathers Internet Protocol addresses and port numbers from infected PCs and ships them out, according to Symantec. One destination is registered to a service in China that allows people to conceal their own IP addresses.

Then there is a generic Trojan; a Trojan that opens a back door on PCs and displays pop-up ads; and a Trojan that spreads itself through portable devices like Mocmex does.

How all this malware got onto the photo frames and what it’s doing there is unclear. Trojans can download other Trojans, which is part of how botnets are controlled.

While SANS is investigating the infections, the retailers are saying little.

Sam’s Club said it has found no infected frames, and its distributor, Advanced Design Systems, did not return calls seeking comment.

A few Target customers complained about frames distributed by Uniek, a store spokesman confirmed. Target is no longer selling those frames, but that’s because the frames didn’t sell well over the holidays, he said. Target has found no infections, he said, but is watching for them.

Best Buy said one line of its Insignia frames – also now discontinued – was infected during manufacturing but would not provide details.

Costco did not return calls seeking comment.
How to avoid problems

Protecting against these new computer viruses, which so far are aimed at PCs running Windows, is hard – and sometimes impossible.

Updated antivirus software works unless the malware writers get ahead of the antivirus vendors, which is what happened with the new Trojan. Computer Associates, for example, just began protecting against it last week.

While some advise disabling Autorun in Windows, which allows devices to run automatically when they’re plugged into a USB port, it’s not a failsafe. Doing so requires some computer expertise, and this Trojan re-enables Autorun if it’s turned off, according to Brian Grayek of Computer Associates. “If you plug in (the frame), you’re already infected,” he said.

Deborah Hale at SANS suggested that PC users find friends with Macintosh or Linux machines and have them check for malware before plugging any device into a PC.

She also recommended backing up data with an online service such as Mozy.com that offers free backup for home users with less than 2 gigabytes of data. But it does not back up the operating system, she warned. If you’re attacked and your PC fails, you’ll have to reformat and reload all of the programs.

If you think bought an infected device, call your retailer.

— Best Buy: (877) 467-4289

— Sam’s Club: (888) 746-7726

— Target: (800) 591-3869

— Costco: (800) 955-2292

– Original report from San Francisco Chronicle: Virus from China the gift that keeps on giving

Posted in China, Computer, Internet, News, Software, Spyware, Technology, USA, Virus, World | 1 Comment »

UK MI5 Warns 300 Business Leaders of China State-sponsored Spying

Posted by Author on December 4, 2007


AFP, Dec. 1, 2007-

LONDON (AFP) — The head of Britain’s domestic security service has warned business leaders that China has been carrying out state-sponsored espionage against vital parts of the economy.

The director-general of MI5, Jonathan Evans, wrote to 300 chief executives and security heads at banks, accountancy and legal firms, warning them they were under attack from “Chinese state organisations” via the Internet, The Times said Saturday.

It is thought to be the first time London has directly accused Beijing of involvement in web-based espionage, the daily said.

Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown said last weekend he is due to visit China in January next year. The Times said Evans’s warning, which it had seen, threatened to cast a diplomatic shadow over the trip.

In particular, Evans warns companies doing business in China to be on their guard against the Chinese Army, because they were using the Internet to steal sensitive commercial data.

The newspaper quoted a security expert as saying that among the techniques used by Chinese groups were “custom trojans” — software that hacks into a firm’s network and feeds back confidential information.

The MI5 letter, on which the Home Office (interior ministry) refused to comment, includes a list of so-called “signatures” that can be used to identify such trojans, plus Internet addresses used to launch them, it added.

– Original report from AFP : Spy chief warns of China web threat

Posted in Business, China, Computer, Economy, Europe, Internet, Law, News, Politics, Software, Spyware, Technology, UK, Virus, World | Comments Off on UK MI5 Warns 300 Business Leaders of China State-sponsored Spying

Scary: Trojan Horse Hidden in New Maxtor Hard Drive Transfers Datas Automatically to China

Posted by Author on November 12, 2007


By Yang Kuo-wen, Lin Ching-chuan and Rich Chang, Taipei Times, Sunday, Nov 11, 2007-

Portable hard discs sold locally and produced by US disk-drive manufacturer Seagate Technology have been found to carry Trojan horse viruses that automatically upload to Beijing Web sites anything the computer user saves on the hard disc, the Investigation Bureau said.

Around 1,800 of the portable Maxtor hard discs, produced in Thailand, carried two Trojan horse viruses: autorun.inf and ghost.pif, the bureau under the Ministry of Justice said.

The tainted portable hard disc uploads any information saved on the computer automatically and without the owner’s knowledge to http://www.nice8.org and http://www.we168.org, the bureau said.

The affected hard discs are Maxtor Basics 500G discs.

The bureau said that hard discs with such a large capacity are usually used by government agencies to store databases and other information.

Sensitive information may have already been intercepted by Beijing through the two Web sites, the bureau said.

The bureau said that the method of attack was unusual, adding that it suspected Chinese authorities were involved.

In recent years, the Chinese government has run an aggressive spying program relying on information technology and the Internet, the bureau said.

The bureau said this was the first time it had found that Trojan horse viruses had been placed on hard discs before they even reach the market.

The bureau said that it had instructed the product’s Taiwanese distributor, Xander International, to remove the products from shelves immediately.

The bureau said that it first received complaints from consumers last month, saying they had detected Trojan horse viruses on brand new hard discs purchased in Taiwan.

Agents began examining hard discs on the market and found the viruses linked to the two Web sites.

Anyone who has purchased this kind of hard disc should return it to the place of purchase, the bureau said.

The distributor told the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) that the company had sold 1,800 tainted discs to stores last month.

It said it had pulled 1,500 discs from shelves, while the remaining 300 had been sold by the stores to consumers.

Seagate’s Asian Pacific branch said it was looking into the matter.

– Original report from Taipei Times : Bureau warns on tainted discs

Posted in China, Computer, Law, News, Politics, products, Software, Spyware, Tainted Products, Technology, World | Comments Off on Scary: Trojan Horse Hidden in New Maxtor Hard Drive Transfers Datas Automatically to China

Germany says China state is behind cyber spying

Posted by Author on October 23, 2007


By Louis Charbonneau, Reuters, Mon Oct 22, 2007-

BERLIN (Reuters) – The Chinese state is behind almost daily Internet espionage attacks on German companies and government bodies, a top German intelligence official said on Monday.

“In our view, state Chinese interests stand behind these digital attacks,” said Hans Elmar Remberg, vice president of the German Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the country’s domestic intelligence agency.

“Supporting this view is the intensity, structure and scope of the attacks, and above all the targets, which include (German) authorities and companies,” he told a conference on industrial espionage in Berlin.

In August German media reported that computer hackers believed to be linked to the Chinese army had infected German government ministries with spying programs. Beijing denied the allegation and said all “hacking” behavior was prohibited.

“Some people call this the Chinese cyber war,” Remberg said, adding that a new concept for protection against such cyber attacks was needed.

He added it was important to differentiate between legitimate attempts to gather information on competitors by Chinese companies and state-led industrial espionage.

Driving China’s interest in industrial and government secrets is its desire to become a top global economic power, he said. To catch up with the West, China needed “a massive transfer of high technology”.

“Across the world the People’s Republic of China is intensively gathering political, military, corporate-strategic and scientific information in order to bridge their technological gaps as quickly as possible,” Remberg said.

The attacks often rely on “Trojan horse” email programs or the hacking of Web sites, he said.

“ASTONISHING INTENSITY”

The attacks on German ministries and authorities had an “astonishing intensity” and the perpetrators appeared unconcerned that the attacks were being discovered.

“Every one or two days new attacks are detected,” he said.

China is also using classic espionage methods.

“The diplomatic representative offices and Chinese media agencies in Germany enable the hidden deployment of intelligence agents,” Remberg said.

Firms in joint ventures with Chinese firms were also at risk, he added……. ( more details from Reuters: Germany says Chinese state is behind cyber spying)

Posted in China, Computer, Europe, Germany, Internet, Law, News, Politics, Spyware, Technology, World | 1 Comment »

DIT Alleges Skype Redirects Users in China to Censorware Version

Posted by Author on September 25, 2007


BUSINESS WIRE, September 24, 2007-

CARY, N.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– DIT (Dynamic Internet Technology Inc)  alleges discovery of Skype’s cooperation with internet censorship in China, which DIT believes is an effort to stop the spread of DIT’s popular anti-censorship tool.

Skype (http://www.skype.com), an instant messaging, voice chat and file downloading tool, is very popular in China. On September 13, 2007, DIT established its presence on Skype, so users in China can talk to DIT over Skype to get DynaWeb url and download its popular censorship-busting software, Freegate.

DIT alleges that, on the morning of September 23, the company started to receive reports from concerned users in China that now when they try to download the Skype software, Skype’s website redirects them to Skype’s Chinese partner’s site, http://skype.tom.com, which doles out a modified Chinese version, instead of Skype’s official version as before.

DIT feels that such a version of Skype from a Chinese website is questionable, as some hidden capabilities can be built-in to censor Skype’s usage. In January, 2006, Business Week reported that “TOM and Skype now filter phrases such as “Falun Gong” and “Dalai Lama.” According to DIT, internet freedom activists in China have been warning people about the possibility that Tom.com’s versions have or will have more trojan capability to monitor and report users’ activities to Chinese government.

DIT has confirmed this redirection. DIT believes this move by Skype is the result of Chinese government’s pressure, targeting to curb Freegate’s wildfire-speed adoption in China.

Freegate is part of DynaWeb technologies. DynaWeb enable users to evade Internet censorship and to visit websites that are otherwise blocked. DynaWeb was first launched in March, 2002. It is developed and maintained by volunteers and personal contributions, and has enjoyed great popularity among users in China and Iran, despite Internet restrictions by the governments in these countries.

Original report from BUSINESS WIRE

Posted in break net-block, censorship, chat, China, Company, Internet, Law, News, Politics, Social, Software, Spyware, Technology, World | 1 Comment »

China Suspected In New Zealand Government Computer Systems Hacking

Posted by Author on September 11, 2007


By HANK SCHOUTEN, The Dominion Post, Via http://www.stuff.co.nz/, New Zea;and, 11 September 2007-

Government computer systems have been hacked into by foreign governments, the country’s chief spymaster says.

Government departments’ websites have been attacked, information has been stolen and hard-to-detect software has been installed that could be used to take control of computer systems, Security Intelligence Service director Warren Tucker said.

In his first interview since taking up the post in November, Mr Tucker said there was evidence that foreign governments were responsible for the attacks.

He would not discuss what country was responsible but referred to comments by Canada’s security service about Chinese spying activities.

Russia and China have been implicated in attacks on the British parliament’s computer system.

Mr Tucker also noted the bungled attempt by Mossad agents from Israel to secure New Zealand passports in 2004.

China was accused last week of hacking into German Government systems and the Pentagon’s computer systems in the United States.

Mr Tucker said the SIS and its kindred agency, the Government Communications Security Bureau, had responded to the cyber attacks by stepping up a security awareness campaign.

In some cases, departments did not even realise their computer systems had been breached.

Sensitive information had been stolen and attempts had been made to gain access to classified information.

In one attack, a department had been penetrated and a programme had been inserted to generate bogus but genuine looking e-mails. Mr Tucker would not name the department or elaborate.

But he said the SIS was stepping up its foreign intelligence gathering operations as part of a realignment of the service, which had just 166 staff when he took over but now has over 200.

“As we’ve stepped up our activities we’ve become more concerned about what we have found,” said Mr Tucker, who consented to the interview on condition that he would not be questioned about Algerian refugee Ahmed Zaoui.

Mr Tucker said the terrorist threat to New Zealand was low but rising – a reflection of overseas concerns about Islamic extremists and the radicalisation of some communities.

The service was engaged on issues of real concern to New Zealand. “The relatively small number of people we monitor are the sort of people you would want us to monitor and would be surprised if we didn’t.”

The SIS had also moved to boost its security vetting of people entering New Zealand and to speed up security clearance processes for people handling sensitive Government information.

The scandal last year when a Beehive messenger leaked a Cabinet paper about the Government’s plan to open Telecom to competition had had a bearing on the initiative.

Mr Tucker, a former director of the Government Communications Security Bureau, told The Dominion Post he believed there was a need for the service to be more open, accessible and more closely aligned to the core values of New Zealand, which were integrity, trustworthiness, being upfront and a willingness to admit mistakes.

It was important for the SIS to be seen as an integral part of the machinery of government, and that its work was seen as necessary and important and that the service was trusted.

– Original report from stuff.co.nz : NZ spies uncover cyber attacks

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