In December, Google announced that it had been attacked by hackers who were most likely based out of China. After going public, and also announcing that other companies were attacked too, it became apparent that the Chinese were trying to steal trade secrets from US based companies.
The New York Times has uncovered new details about the attacks. They say that “a series of online attacks on Google and dozens of other American corporations have been traced to computers at two educational institutions in China, including one with close ties to the Chinese military”.
The two schools in question are the Shanghai Jiaotong University and the Lanxiang Vocational School, both have ties that make their intentions potentially more damaging. Shanghai Jiaotong University is a top school in its trade, especially for its computer sciences courses. One professor, when questioned about the attacks remarked, “I’m not surprised. Actually students hacking into foreign Web sites is quite normal”.
The other school, Lanxiang Vocational, is a large vocational school that was established with military support and was intended to help train computer scientists for the military. Also, Baidu, is a large supporter of this school; Baidu is Google’s largest competitor in China.
There are many working theories about the Chinese Government being involved or that Baidu wanted to steal trade secrets from its primary competitor. There is also the idea being thrown around that a third state was using China as a front for the attacks too. Whatever the reason, the US Government and other agencies are continuing to investigate the attacks but the real intent may never be known.