Ars Technica is reporting that VeriSign’s iDefense lab has traced the attack on Google and over 30 other companies to the Chinese government. The cyber attack occurred late December and targeted Google and other companies in an attempt to extract information about political dissidents.
The iDefense report points to malicious code that was deployed in PDF files that were crafted to exploit a vulnerability in Adobe’s software. According to the report: “the source IPs and drop server of the attack correspond to a single foreign entity consisting either of agents of the Chinese state or proxies thereof.”
VeriSign’s iDefense Lab believes that this attack originates from the same source as another recent attack which happened back in July, suggesting the Chinese government is mounting an all out war on US companies and their intellectual property.
“The servers used in both attacks employ the HomeLinux DynamicDNS provider, and both are currently pointing to IP addresses owned by Linode, a US-based company that offers Virtual Private Server hosting. The IP addresses in question are within the same subnet, and they are six IP addresses apart from each other,” the report says. “Considering this proximity, it is possible that the two attacks are one and the same, and that the organizations targeted in the Silicon Valley attacks have been compromised since July.”
While trade sanctions may be too harsh, the Chinese government needs to be sent a message that this sort of behavior is totally unacceptable and won’t be tolerated. Google have stated that in light of the attacks, they may be fully closing operations in China and shutting down Google.cn. This is tragic for the Chinese, as access to information should be free for everyone, regardless of their political views.
Will this have any impact on RIM increasing its presence in China? Not likely. But you have to consider what the Chinese government will demand of RIM, once “dissidents” are found sending emails from their BlackBerry and organizing themselves through BlackBerry Messenger. I hope RIM sends a strong message to the Chinese government that they won’t be giving out PIN’s and email access of BlackBerry users in China.