LONDON (AP) — Hackers recently rigged the website of Tibet’s government-in-exile to infect the computers of Chinese-speaking visitors, a researcher said Tuesday, outlining the latest in a series of cyberattacks aimed at activists from the Himalayan region.
Attackers surreptitiously modified the Chinese-language website of the Central Tibetan Administration to infect visitors with rogue software, Kaspersky Lab security researcher Kurt Baumgartner said in a blog post. In a telephone interview, Baumgartner said the attack was the work of an established crew of hackers who first hit the site back in 2011.
“We’re pretty confident it’s the group returning,” he said.
It was not immediately clear how long the Central Tibetan Administration’s site was compromised or how many people were exposed to the malicious code. The group had restored the site by early Tuesday, according to spokesman Tashi Phuntsok.
Baumgartner declined to identify the hackers — Kaspersky generally shies away from attributing attacks to any group — but Tibetans and other Chinese activists have been targeted in a long-running electronic espionage campaign widely blamed on Beijing.
China claims Tibet as an integral part of its territory and has vigorously suppressed domestic protests which it claims are inspired by outsiders, among them the exiled Dalai Lama. Many suspect the hacking is part of a wider effort to monitor Tibetan opposition figures abroad.
Beijing, however, has denied being behind cyberattacks on foreign targets.
Whoever was behind the most recent hacking infected just a handful of systems, Baumgartner said, pointing to what he called a “highly targeted attack.”
The Central Tibetan Administration is based in Dharamshala, India. It says its Chinese-language site gets roughly 700 visitors a day.
Kaspersky blog post: http://raphae.li/31