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Tibet exiles struggle to thwart Chinese hackers

March 31, 2009

Asia One Digital
March 30, 2009

DHARAMSHALA (AFP) -- Tibet's exiled government
said Monday it was trying to boost computer
security systems after a report concluded they
were being targeted by a China-based espionage network.

Canadian researchers found that the network,
known as GhostNet, had infiltrated government and
private computers around the world, with Tibetan
exiles based in the Indian hill town of
Dharamshala - including the Dalai Lama - one of its prime targets.

"We had have computers hit by viruses and
information going missing," said Thubten Samphel,
spokesman for the Tibetan government in exile.

"How this knowledge is used is of great concern,
so we are trying to improve the security of our
system, but we have limited resources.

"We are transparent in our work and it is not
ethical behaviour to retrieve this data." The
report, by the Information Warfare Monitor group,
was commissioned by staff working for Tibetan
spiritual leader the Dalai Lama after they became
alarmed by possible breaches of security.

The 10-month investigation by specialists at the
University of Toronto found the spying was being
done from computers based almost exclusively in China.

But researchers said there was no conclusive
evidence that the Chinese government was
involved. The Tibetan exile community gave
researchers access to their computers in London,
Brussels and New York, as well as in Dharamshala.

"The Tibetan computer systems we manually
investigated... were conclusively compromised by
multiple infections that gave attackers
unprecedented access to potentially sensitive
information," the report said. In London, Chinese
embassy spokesman Liu Weimin suggested the
investigation was part of a Tibetan media and propaganda campaign.
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