Probe of Cyberattacks on Google Focuses on Chinese Schools

Two Chinese schools may be the source of the cyberattacks on Google (GOOG) and a number of other U.S. corporations, one of which has ties to the Chinese military, according to The New York Times. The U.S. National Security Agency has worked to find the source of the attacks, but reports from the agency said that it has made no progress beyond servers in Taiwan. A U.S. military contractor was able to aid the U.S. government in identifying a computer science course taught by a Ukrainian professor in China as a possible source of the attacks, the Times says. The two schools that may have been involved were identified as Shanghai Jiaotong University and the Lanxiang Vocational School.The information does not appear to answer the question of whether the Chinese government was involved in the cyberattacks or whether it sanctioned them. On Feb. 3, the People's Republic claimed that it was the largest target for hackers, a statement that was made without detailed facts to support it. An official at the China National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team said, "Compared with Internet security issues in the U.S., Japan and the Republic of Korea, it is very serious in China." It is hard to see how that is a defense against actions it may have taken against Google and other U.S. companies. Google was so troubled by the attacks that it has threatened to close its operations in China.

China has gone so far as to say that it had nothing to do with the Google problem. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has taken exception to those claims, saying that China's potential actions against the U.S. search company will have "consequences."

So the argument of who did what to whom goes around and around. U.S. technology experts may never make it far enough through the maze of servers and IP addresses to ascertain who engineered the attacks, and China will continue to deny any role. But the data about the Chinese schools is damning and will help support world opinion that China does not have clean hands.

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