Tibetan Computing Resource Centre on ‘Hack Attacks’
27 September, 2002: A number of articles have been appearing lately in various publications regarding ‘hacking’ attempts on the Tibetan Government-in-exile’s computer networks.We feel that it is appropriate to outlay the facts as we acknowledge them:
A number of targeted computer viruses circulating via email throughout the Tibetan Government-in-exile and Tibetan support groups and related NGOs have been discovered or brought to our attention.These virus’s have appeared in a number of variants, indicating a progressive and sustained development process.For example some were taking advantage of known security loopholes in Microsoft software in order to automatically run and are always personalized to impersonate departmental emails following previous attempts to collect email address lists.One variant analyzed was found to have been sourced from the Yunnan Province in China, and was designed to collect information off an infected computer and send it via email to an address in Beijing.
The geographic diversity does give the impression that this particular attack is rather more organized than the common hacker that any major System Administrator must protect themselves against as a matter of course.
While our firewall prevented any information from escaping the Central Tibetan Administration of the Tibetan Government-in-exile, Dharamsala.We understand from statements from an article in the South China Morning Post (‘State Hackers Spying On Us, Say Dissidents’, 18th Sept 2002) that we are not alone in these viral attacks.Reportedly many other groups as diverse as Falun Gong networks, East Turkestan Independence Movement to Voice of America are being subjected to repeated similar attacks.
We acknowledge that we are not alone in being challenged by both common and targeted viral attacks.Being connected to the Internet, we consider it a normal part of our practice to be diligent in surveillance and preventative measures.
We have been very thankful for the many knowledgeable supporters around the globe in providing us with appropriate technical, logistical and moral support.From help in setting up foolproof network security to the many whom have felt obliged to update us on world developments that they feel may affect us. We are also grateful for the press for helping to highlight to the greater community issues such as these when they arise.
Tibetan Computing Resource Centre,
Central Tibetan Administration of HH The Dalai Lama,