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In the Media

article imageNo Network Is Really Safe From The Reach of GhostNet

By Can Tran
Mar 29, 2009 in Technology
So far a cyber-espionage or “cyber-spy” network has been revealed to have infiltrated security networks across the world. Many arrows point to China. It is revealed that GhostNet can hit about any network across the world.
Recently, it was revealed that networks across the globe in over one hundred countries have been hit by a cyber-espionage network called “GhostNet.” So far, it is believed that GhostNet may have originated from China. But, it is not concluded on who exactly is responsible for GhostNet. However, what is known that many networks have been hit. This includes both government and private computer networks.
In short, many have gotten hit. So far, this software was discovered by security researchers. They explain that GhostNet can cause a lot of damage by stealing all sorts of valuable secrets. One of the networks that got hit was the office of his Holiness, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama. Information on GhostNet was revealed when the researches looked over sensitive information that got stolen from the computer network from the office of the Dalai Lama.
However, there is no evidence to suggest who is responsible. Cambridge University comes to a similar conclusion. But that one alleges that the Chinese government may have something to do with it. China’s government denied claims of supporting cyber-attacks.
With that aside, GhostNet hit countries across the world. Many embassies and foreign ministries got hit. But, it did not focus on just government networks. It affected the news media and other groups.
The arrows all point to China. But since the information originated from information stolen from the Dalai Lama’s computer network, the Chinese government was quick to go on the counter-attack. It said that the reports are a propaganda campaign by Tibet.
One should remember, there are strained tensions between Tibet and China. It got really intense last year in 2008. This was because the 2008 Summer Olympics were hosted in Beijing, China. Many groups with beef against China’s government would take advantage of the free publicity provided. The crackdowns on pro-Tibet protects were really extreme during that time.
One of the computer networks hit was that of NATO. One report had said that GhostNet can hijack infected computers and other electronic devices. While everything seems to point at China, there is not enough concrete evidence to make an assumption on who is really behind GhostNet.
This could cause more tensions between China and Tibet. With the magnitude of potential damage that GhostNet can cause, this could be a potential domestic and international problem for United States President Barack Obama. Perhaps news of GhostNet could bring up further domestic and international talks in cyber-security.
With everything is summed up together, no network is really safe. GhostNet can hit any network whether it is big or small. However, it is revealed that main targets are in South and Southeast Asia. Still, it is a matter of time before something like GhostNet can hit other areas. However, GhostNet’s capability has reached over to Europe as it hit such embassies in Germany and Portugal. Again, no network is safe from GhostNet.
In all respects, GhostNet really acts like a “ghost.” It moves to virtually any network. It steals information without anybody noticing. In all senses, this concept feels very reminiscent of the Japanese anime by Masamune Shirow called "Ghost In The Shell." Also, it does give a feel of the "Metal Gear Solid" series.
article:270092:7::0
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