Sunday, March 29, 2009

Meet The Canadians Who Busted GhostNet

Omar El Akkad writes in The Globe and Mail:

Against the backdrop of humming computers in the underground lab in Toronto's Munk Centre for International Studies, a screen flickered, and the most politically explosive cyber-spy network in the world began to reveal itself.

It was March 6, 12:33 p.m., and Nart Villeneuve was getting frustrated. The 34-year-old international relations student and part-time tech geek had tried everything to track down a piece of malicious software that had infected computers around the world, including those in the offices of the Dalai Lama.

Finally, he turned to the ultimate hacker's tool: He entered some of the code from those infected computers into Google. Just like that, he found one of the cyber-spy network's control servers, then another, and another. From that Eureka moment came a flood of information, almost all of it suggesting the ring originated in China.

A team of Canadian researchers revealed this weekend a network, dubbed GhostNet, of more than 1,200 infected computers worldwide that includes such “high-value targets” as Indonesia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Indian Embassy in Kuwait, as well as a dozen computers in Canada.

More here.


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