It’s a major discovery, a cyber spy network that’s infected 1,295 computers in 103 countries, according to the Information Warfare Monitor (IWM), which is made up of researchers from Ottawa-based think tank SecDev Group and the University of Toronto’s Munk Centre for International Studies.
That might not seem like a lot of computers, but those machines are in foreign ministries and embassies. The discovery occurred after IWM was asked to investigate computers belonging to the Dalai Lama. From there they uncovered something far more complex, a network of spying on the ministries of foreign affairs of Iran, Bangladesh, Latvia, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei, Barbados and Bhutan, as well as embassies of India, South Korea, Indonesia, Romania, Cyprus, Malta, Thailand, Taiwan, Portugal, Germany and Pakistan.
Investigators have released their report, Tracking GhostNet: Investigating a Cyber Espionage Network, after 10 months of investigation, and they claim that the hacking of these computers has originated in China. The software the hackers used also gave them control of webcams and microphones on the computers, although it’s not known if they were used.
Although the attacks originated in China, it’s unknown whether they were organized by the Chinese government, and Beijing has denied any involvement.