• Fri
  • Dec 19, 2014
  • Updated: 4:16am
Edward Snowden

EXCLUSIVE: NSA targeted China's Tsinghua University in extensive hacking attacks, says Snowden

Tsinghua University, widely regarded as the mainland’s top education and research institute, was the target of extensive hacking by US spies this year

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 June, 2013, 11:24pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 August, 2013, 3:45pm

Tsinghua University in Beijing, widely regarded as the mainland’s top education and research institute, was the target of extensive hacking by US spies this year, according to information leaked by Edward Snowden.

It is not known how many times the prestigious university has been attacked by the NSA but details shown to the Post by Snowden reveal that one of the most recent breaches was this January.

The information also showed that the attacks on Tsinghua University were intensive and concerted efforts. In one single day of January, at least 63 computers and servers in Tsinghua University have been hacked by the NSA.

Snowden said the information he shared on the Tsinghua University attacks provided evidence of NSA hacking because the specific details of external and internal internet protocol addresses could only have been obtained by hacking or with physical access to the computers.

The university is home to one of the mainland’s six major backbone networks, the China Education and Research Network (CERNET) from where internet data from millions of Chinese citizens could be mined.

The network was the country’s first internet backbone network and has evolved into the world’s largest national research hub.

It is one of the mainland’s non-commercial networks, owned by the Ministry of Education, but operated and maintained by the university and other colleges.

Universities in Hong Kong and the mainland were revealed as targets of NSA’s cyber-snooping activities last week when Snowden claimed the Chinese University of Hong Kong had been hacked.

Chinese University is home to the Hong Kong Internet Exchange, the city’s central hub for all internet traffic.

Snowden said the NSA was focusing much attention on so-called “network backbones”, through which vast amounts of date passed.

In the wake of Snowden’s claims, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs set up an office to deal with diplomatic activities involving cyber security.

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 cyberhacking by the United States, has been a “a major victim” of cyberattacks and that it opposed “cyberattacks in all forms”.

She added that the central government would discuss cybersecurity issues with the United States at next month’s Sino-US strategic and security dialogue.

Professor Xu Ke, deputy director of the Institute of Computer Networks at Tsinghua University, has previously said that most data passing through network backbones was not encrypted.

Xu said most attacks on such networks were carried out by governments because individual hackers “could gain little”, as the amount of information they faced would be “colossal”.

Only governments or large organisations would have the resources and manpower to “find the needle in a haystack”, he said.


For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

hard times !
it is now known that within just one single day in last January, up to 63 hackings was done by the NSA of America against the top university in China---the Tsing Hua University which was built by the refund of the Campaign of 8-nations in 1900 from the American government.This university is known for its education and research.If this info.is proved to be true and geniune,there is absolutely no reason to hand over Mr.Snowden to the States at all. He is the benefactor of both China and Hong Kong by disclosing the evil pirate-typed acts committed by the National Security Agency of America ! Shame on the secret agency and its top boss who complained to our Presient Xi on his recent visit to the States for China's hackings into America's computers in their military and business corporations ! Shame on this black President indeed ! Shame on him ! No wonder the genreal consul of America in Hong Kong,Stephen Young had uttered,'no comment ' when asked by reporters about the Snowden case and a bunch of pro-America local guys such as writer Tao Kit (Tso Chik) accused Snowden of being a liar in his radio programme to blackmouth him and his revelations so do some anti-China elements in town who either remain mouths shut or attempting to downplay the shocking scandal in the world !
I'm sure I'm the minority on this page, but I would be shocked and dismayed if I found out that the US had NOT been spying on China, the rogue state of the 21st century.
hard times !
This so-called KwunTongBypass can never utter any sensible or convining words here in this Comment column.Instead,he can only yell hysterically at anyone here who supports our benefactor,Mr.Edward Snowden whose relevations are assets towards all netizens in the world,including our over 4 million netizens here in Hong Kong where according to his relevation:our Pacnet (which handles our fibre-optic submarine cables communications) has also been hacked by this now-notorious NSA of America ! Shame on this nasty guy:KwunTongBypass ! Shame on him !
Yes, shame on this black president...............knew from the start that this was the last thing the USA needed but still they elected him.........shows how intelligent the American citizens are.
hard times !
most Hongkongers are not racists,yet this black guy is really too much---inherit the bossy attitude of that cowboy President,George Bush:'with us or against us !' We Hong Kong together with Mainland China are both victims of the cyberspying done by the National Security Agency of America which is directly responsible to President Obama and his so-called National Intelligence Committee though NSA literally belongs to the Pentagon--the Defence Dept. Now the thief is calling,' stop thief !' Is it absurd to the extreme and very misleading ? I wonder.Black,brown, red or yellow skin doesn't matter and is not inferior to white skin which looks maybe more beautiful.But this descendant of a Kenyan father is really too much this time---just cannot admire the blacks this time !
Did SCMP really vet this claim before reporting this? Or has SCMP lost objectivity and impartiality in the pursuit of a story? Or has SCMP really become to stand for Snowden's Chief Mouth Piece?
As mentioned in the article, "specific details of external and internal internet protocol addresses could only have been obtained by hacking or with physical access to the computers". Internal addresses can be easily be made up as they are in an allocated in specific ranges. If the external IP address can only be obtained by hacking or physical server access; did the SCMP reporter verify that the external IP addresses are indeed assigned to the university servers?
It was almost predictable that Snowden would make further allegations/claims to gain more sympathy and/or to create distractions once the formal charges were filed. It is similar to bank robbers being chased by police on the road to throw some money to cause chaos and make other people to block the police's chase.
I don't trust this man. Why do we trust him? It is sort of clear that he has some disgraced purpose. It is not strange that US has made some preparation or taken some actions in electronic warfare. The focus of this attention should be how to trade off human privacy and national security. It is a social morality.
At least, US government doesn't just injudiciously deny everything.
are you a moron or a racist ?
Man you are some weirdo! Why don't you stop your hourly rant! You, and all the guys that fill the space in this news rag with a strikingly similar style, under strikingly similar 'identities', have not added anything of relevance during the past ten days, or so. Have you got nothing else to do? Go take a walk in the Hong Kong rain. Cool off!
hard times !
I wonder why does the US asks Mainland China in the same way to get to China's top universities to get something useful--the so-called useful data ? Hackings done by just a singel secret agency up to 63 times in a single day.It sounds really shocking indeed !



SCMP.com Account