Foreign Media Outlets Targeted in Chinese Malware Attack

Experts at InfoWar Monitor have discovered that journalists working for foreign media outlets in China, including Reuters, the Straits Times, Dow Jones, Agence France Presse, and Ansa, are the targets of a recent malware (malicious software) attack. Nart Villeneuve and Greg Walton suspect that the attack is connected with increased security around the Communist regime’s upcoming 60 year anniversary:

These attacks correlate with reports of increased security measures within China as a result of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. These increased security measures have also been extended to the Internet, with providers of anti-censorship technology reporting increased levels of blocking that prevents people from accessing the web sites of foreign media and news organizations.

One of the key findings in the report is that the attack appears to have originated at a (possibly unsuspecting) university in Taiwan:

The IP addresses currently used by the malware are assigned to Taiwan. One of the servers is located at the National Central University of Taiwan, and is a server to which students and faculty connect to download anti-virus software. The second is an IP address assigned to the Taiwan Academic Network. These compromised servers present a severe security problem as the attackers may have substituted their malware for anti-virus software used by students, employees, and faculty at the National Central University.

It is difficult to prove the extent to which governments use malware and other computer attacks as a tool of foreign policy, but many experts have strong suspicions that, for example, Russia may be exploiting the criminal networks that exist around malware and computer crime in that country for political ends. (More malware comes from Russia, China and the US than anywhere else in the world according to Stopbadware.) For more details on the recent attack in China see the full report or check out this article in the Globe and Mail.

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