Intelligence agencies and web application security experts claim that China may be behind the recent data breach incidents that have compromised the information of thousands of students, teachers, and administrative staff in some India, Australia and U.S. universities.
Media from various countries reported that important members of China’s intelligence agencies have been deploying a hacking campaign with which data stored for at least twenty years in some relevant academic institutions in these countries have been compromised.
A recent data breach in one of these institutions seems to confirm the suspicion of experts. “We have detected unauthorized access to a considerable amount of data, including university banking and fiscal details, as well as academic histories dating back to at least twenty years ago”, reported an Australian National University official.
Authorities responsible for the protection of personal data in U.S. and Australia mentioned that this seems to be the work of a group of hackers with advanced knowledge and extensive resources at their disposal. “What we know so far is that, depending on the mode of operation, they must be Chinese hackers”, commented the web applications security experts.
Experts believe that this campaign could be specifically targeting universities that bring the most graduates for government organizations in these countries, so Australian and American intelligence agencies fear than the Chinese government’s main goal is recruiting informants for future espionage activities.
According to web application security experts from the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS) intelligence agencies from Australia, India and the United States detected the first attempts of hacking their universities last year, so it was necessary to implement important improvements in the IT infrastructure of these academic institutions, however, these attacks were not detected until after their execution, although security experts mention that, if the improvements haven’t been done, the attacks would remain undetected so far.