A series of online attacks on Google and dozens of other American corporations have been traced to computers at two educational institutions in China, including one with close ties to the Chinese military, say people involved in the investigation.
They said the attacks, aimed at stealing trade secrets and computer codes and capturing e-mail of Chinese human rights activists, may have begun as early as April, months earlier than previously believed. Computer security experts, including investigators from the National Security Agency, have been working to pinpoint the source of the attacks.
The Chinese schools involved are Shanghai Jiaotong University and the Lanxiang Vocational School, according to several people with knowledge of the investigation who asked for anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the inquiry. Jiaotong has one of China’s top computer science programs. Just a few weeks ago its students ranked first in the 2010 ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest.
If supported by further investigation, the findings raise as many questions as they answer, including the possibility that some of the attacks came from China but not necessarily from the Chinese government, or even from Chinese sources. Evidence acquired by a United States military contractor has even led investigators to suspect a link to a specific computer science class, taught by a Ukrainian professor at the Lanxiang Vocational School.
From The New York Times
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