Once again more NSA leaks have been revealed by Edward Snowden, and this time he has presented material that purportedly shows that the NSA has directly hacked into China’s Tsinghua University. This University, which is located in Beijing, is highly regarded as Mainland China’s top tier of higher education, and has been a top priority target for the NSA for a good while. According to this recent revelation, Tsinghua was last breached back in January of this year.
The alleged hacking occurrences into the University were made to uncover and capture information. This latest leak shows that as many as 63 computers were hacked along with the servers housed at the University.
Snowden says proof of the NSA hacking into Tsinghua comes from information he provided showing specific external and internal IP addresses that he claims could only be found by hacking into the system or being physically present.
One reason the NSA may be hacking into the university is because the school houses one of six major backbone networks in China, which is the China Education and Research Network (CERNET). Much like PRISM and how it harvests data inside the US, CERNET could be effectively mined for data by the NSA on millions of Chinese Internet users.
CERNET is owned by the Ministry of Education but it is operated by Tsinghua and other Chinese colleges. This was China’s first Internet backbone network and is the world’s largest national research hub.
Last week Snowden divulged information on how the NSA was targeting the Chinese University in Hong Kong, which houses the Hong Kong Internet Exchange. It was also revealed that the NSA was focusing more on what he called “network backbones” in order to obtain the greatest amount of data.
According to an exclusive report from the South China Morning Post, on Sunday June 23rd, The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs have set up a new office to tackle what Snowden recently revealed to the world.
The SCMP reads in part,
“The new cyber affairs office is the first of its kind on the mainland with a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman saying that Beijing, long accused of cyber hacking by the United States, has been a ‘a major victim’ of cyber attacks and that it opposed ‘cyber attacks in all forms’.”
Officials with the university didn’t mention the U.S. by name but did say that foreign governments were certainly carrying out the hacks on their networks. They explained by saying no single individual could gain anything from such a massive amount of data, and only a powerful system with a massive amount of manpower would have the ability to find any particular piece of data.
About Edward Snowden
29-year-old Edward Snowden was a former contract employee through Booz Allen Hamilton who worked as a systems intelligence analyst for the National Security Agency (NSA). He became a whistle blower after he became disgruntled with the agency’s PRISM program that is harvesting massive amounts of data on private citizens via the Internet. Disgruntled by what he saw as a crime and violation to the 4th amendment, he began to expose the program by way of the Guardian and The Washington Post on June 6th of this year, and just how much more information he holds and will reveal is a mystery for now.
On Sunday, June 23rd it was reported that Snowden had voluntarily left Hong Kong and was headed to Moscow and then on to his final destination of Iceland or possibly Ecuador.