“Hong Kong police are investigating the use of an IP address belonging to the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology after college authorities reported suspicious activities on their servers linked to recent reports of hacker attacks on U.S. companies originating in China,” Radio Free Asia reports:
The IP address was the only one traced to Hong Kong by security firm Mandiant in its recent report, which alleged that hackers based in China had infiltrated a large number of U.S. corporate computer systems in recent years. Mandiant traced a total of 613 IP addresses involved in transnational cyber-attacks to a building it said belonged to the People’s Liberation Army’s cyber-division in Shanghai.
Mandian’s investigation follows a series of cyber-attacks on US government, commercial, civil society and media organizations, including the New York Times and the Washington Post.
As recently as December, he had obtained a sensitive Chinese document and passed it along by e-mail to a Post correspondent in Beijing. The resulting story named Fu but not the document’s original source within China, who Fu said could have been arrested if discovered.
An associate working for China Aid* was briefly detained after the story appeared and was questioned about the document. It’s not clear if any information was gleaned from Fu’s e-mail exchange with the Post correspondent, which took place after the company’s computer system was secured. “Oh, my goodness, that makes me a little sweaty,” Fu said, recalling the incident. “The consequences could be so unbearable.”
“There’s a paranoia that sets in,” he said. “That may be one of the functions of this surveillance.”
A non-governmental democracy assistance group was one of over 70 companies, governments and non-profit organizations targeted in a massive cyberspying offensive in 2011 that experts believe was likely conducted by China.
“The presence of political non-profits, such as the a private western organization focused on promotion of democracy around the globe or U.S. national security think tank is also quite illuminating,” said the report from the McAfee security firm. “Hacking the United Nations or the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Secretariat is also not likely a motivation of a group interested only in economic gains.”