Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Digital espionage - off the shelf

I've talked in this column before about the dangers lurking online. But while I'm sure you guys are listening, I'm not sure governments are.
Researchers from Canada recently unearthed an espionage network - apparently run from inside China - that has penetrated the computers of governments and embassies from 18 countries, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Asian Development Bank, and at least one major news organization.
This is somewhat alarming. But maybe what is more alarming about this is about how easy it seems to have been. All of it was done with software tools you could probably buy in your local pirated software store.
The team, from the Munk Center for International Studies at the University of Toronto, was investigating claims that the Dalai Lama's Tibetan "government-in-exile" in India had been badly compromised.
One young Tibetan woman returning home was stopped at the border, for example, and interrogated for two months. When she denied any involvement in the Dalai Lama's operations, they waved a dossier of full transcripts of all her Internet chats over the years.

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