World War WAN: Google Hack Traced to Schools in China

by admin February 19, 2010 at 7:00 pm

The online attacks that inspired Google’s (GOOG) “new approach to China” have been traced to computers at two educational institutions in the country, including one with ties to the Chinese military.

Anonymous sources close to the investigation into the attacks, which targeted dozens of American corporations, tell the New York Times they originated at Shanghai Jiaotong University and the Lanxiang Vocational School. The former boasts one of China’s top computer science programs; the latter has been known to train computer scientists for the Chinese military and reportedly has ties to Baidu, the dominant search engine in China.

While the implications of these findings seem obvious, insiders differ on what they really mean. Some suspect the schools are being used as a cover for Chinese government operations. Others speculate that they’re being used to hide intelligence operations run by a third country. Still others wonder if there’s no government involvement here at all, speculating that the attacks are criminal in origin and were intended to steal intellectual property from American tech firms.