‘GhostNet’ is Unveiled
A cyber spy operation that operates internationally and is known as GhostNet was recently uncovered by the Munk Center for International Studies, a security research concern based at the University of Toronto in Canada at the request of Canada’s Information Warfare Monitor (IWM). GhostNet operates from within China and is targeting computers and networks owned by governments around the world.
Spying for Over a Decade
Since 2007 GhostNet has actively targeted diplomats, politicians and media companies. The cyber spy operation installs spyware to invade and monitor their computers. The IWM has established that the cyber espionage is being conducted from various locations in China but stated that there is no conclusive proof of involvement by the Chinese government. Although intelligence analysts have claimed that many governments including the US, Russia and China use computer systems to covertly gather information, authorities in Beijing have denied being involved with GhostNet. It is the first time that researchers have managed to expose an intrusion of this magnitude.
Who is Affected?
According to BBC News Ghostnet has a global reach in over 100 different countries and has already infiltrated more than 1,000 computers. There has been no evidence thus far that any office of the United States government has been infiltrated but diplomatic offices in the US like the Indian embassy in Washington are targeted. It was also discovered that victims in the United Kingdom include the Indian High Commission, International Chamber of Shipping and Associated Press news agency. The first known victim was the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama whose office originated the investigation.
Despite the discoveries made, the invasion is not over. The New York Times reported that GhostNet continues to invade and monitor at least a dozen computers every week.