Ghostnet: It’s Spooky out There

by admin on March 31, 2009

Over the weekend, a bunch of Canadian researchers busted a cyber-ring that had affected more than 1200 computers worldwide. What makes this interesting is that the infected computers were found in  "high-value targets" such as Indonesia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Indian Embassy in Kuwait, as well as the offices of Dai Lama. The malware that was found was so sophisticated that it had the ability to turn on USB devices (like video cameras) and collect video information. (For some reason, I find this delightfully creepy.)

Oh, by the way, the control servers were tracked to which country? Guess! Bing! And the answer is China! Oh, and in the interest of journalistic fairness, I should add that Bejing denies any involvement in this matter and says it's all nonsense.

I have a fascination with this stuff. In university, to complete my honours research project and get a degree in journalism, I did my thesis on a KGB agent who defected to Canada and was later assasinated on Canadian soil by the same KGB. I guess it could because my Dad did some time in counter-intelligence for the Canadian Armed Forces back in the 60s and 70s. One of my favourite conversations I had with Dad when I was growing up went like something like this:
"Hey Dad, what do you do again?"
Dad mumbles his title. The word nuclear pops out.
"But Dad, I thought Canada didn't have any nukes. I mean, that's what those protestors are protesting about. We 're supposed to be a nuclear-free zone."
"Shut-up son."
Anyhow, Dad denies that particular conversation ever took place, so maybe I imagined it.

Anyhow, a great site for reading more of this stuff (And becoming more and more paranoid in the process) is Cryptome.org. It's run by a guy who makes it a hobby to collect declassified intel from government agencies. You poke around in there long enough, you get enough tidbits to freak out any cocktail party gathering.

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