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Attacks/Breaches

Researchers Uncover 'Shadow Network'

Espionage network has been stealing information from Indian government -- and even the Dalai Lama, report says

University and security researchers this week revealed details about a cybergang called the Shadow Network, which reportedly has been stealing sensitive government and business data in India, and even has penetrated systems belonging to the Dalai Lama.

Researchers from the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto and the SecDev Group said in a report that the Shadow Network has penetrated government computers across the globe, including Indian embassies in Kabul, Moscow, and Dubai, India's Military Engineer Services, and several private companies.

The authors of the new report are the same researchers who last year uncovered a cyberspy ring dubbed Ghostnet. That group also stole documents from the Dalai Lama and from governments and corporations in more than 103 countries.

The researchers say they found the Shadow Network while investigating Ghostnet, but that the new network is probably a separate operation.

According to the report, the spies configured their control servers to work with free Internet services, including Twitter, Google Groups, Baidu Blogs, and Yahoo Mail. The free services allowed the attackers to maintain control of compromised computers even if they lost contact with the command and control servers, the researchers said.

The researchers say they traced the espionage network to China, though they could not say for sure where the group is located. Chinese government officials strongly denied the government was behind the attacks. The researchers say they reported their findings to China's law enforcement agencies and asked the Chinese government to shut down the operation.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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