We’ve written about the Chinese attacks on Google and other U.S. corporations before, but new developments in the case link the source of the attacks to two schools. Since Google announced the attacks on January 12, National Security Agency investigators have been laboriously searching for the source of the attacks, which according to new data may have begun as early as April. These attacks including stealing trade secrets, computer codes, and abducting e-mail of Chinese human rights activists have been linked back to computers at two schools in China, one the prestigious Chinese Shanghai Jiaotong University and the other a vocational school. According to investigators, one of these schools has connections to the Chinese government.
Investigators discovered a connection to a particular computer science class, taught by a Ukrainian professor at the Lanxiang Vocational school, where some computer students are trained and recruited by the government. Officials there said they had not heard about any possible connection to the school and declined to comment that a Ukrainian professor was employed there.
However, many questions still remain if this information is accurate. There are the possibilities that the attacks did not come from neither the Chinese government nor Chinese sources. Some analysts say that the school could be used as a cover-up for government activities. Other experts entertain the possibility that the school could be used as a cover-up for operations run by a third country. Still others hypothesize that this situation is an exemplification of criminal industrial espionage, with the goal of illegally obtaining intellectual assets from U.S. technology firms.
The relationship between Google and China is a precarious situation right now. As more information is discovered, we will witness whether Google and China will ever regain ties.
UPDATE: According to U.S. analysts, a Chinese man has been identified as the writer of the critical programming code used in the aforementioned attacks. The man is described as a freelance security consultant in his 30s that gave the Chinese government access to his hacking program to use on Google. Although he was not responsible for initiating the attack on Google, he is still being investigated for possible involvement.