• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 5:22am
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.


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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 !

My fellow Americans, ever heard of the notorious Big Brothers?
The Big Five of CIA,NSA,DIA,NGA,NRO in coordination with satellite stations throughout the territories of five Anglo nations, known as Five Eyes, and their worldwide hacking has been a constant warning since last year in China Daily. (Google 'Sicko Uncle Sam' at the CD Forum for details).
hard times !
The Five Anglo nations maybe:the UK, Canada,Australia, New Zealand and America herself. Right ?
It is learnt that the UK is responsible for the monitoring of Europe and Africa,Australia responsible for South China(including Hong Kong) and India,New Zealand:the south-west Pacific,Canada the Arctic Region while the Big Brother himself:America itself,Latin America,the Middle East,North China,Koreas and Japan plus Russia(the east of Mt.Ural).
hard times !
Of course only governments or large organisations would have the resources and manpower to find a needle in a haystack such as this the largest hacker in the world: the National Security Agency of America. Right ?
Carioca no Coracao
yes, in Obama we trust. praise the LORD.
Tell Snowden start a people petition for Obama extradition to China due to a country-level national security threat from USA. To face a legal prosecution for hacking China.
Nobody are dare to threaten Great China.
hard times !
it is really a pity you cannot express yourself here in English in the local English newspaper,SCMP.If your English is so poor that you just cannot bark fiercely and rudely at other writers here,please shut up forever and leave this Comment column once and for all.Go home and brush up your English ABC before returning here to bark at other sensible and educated writers.Okay ? ha ! ha !
Du bist ein armseeliger, rassistischer Dummkopf und Blödmann! (for ABCs: You are a racist moron and fool).Hohohoho!
lots of terrorists in Tsing Hua University I guess.....
agreed! as one of the top universities in that filthy rotten stinking commieland, they do train lots of cyber-terrorists there...
Carioca no Coracao
even though everybody knows US is the #1 spying country in the world however, most americans also believe we are the "good guy" and spying on everybody is not something we want to talk about.

Ever heard of the notorious Anglo Big Brothers? The Big Five of CIA,NSA,DIA,NGA,NRO in coordination with satellite stations throughout the territories of five Anglo nations of U.S,Canada,U.K,Australia & NewZealand - known as Five Eyes, and their worldwide hacking has been a constant warning since last year in China Daily. [Google 'Sicko Uncle Sam' at the CD Forum for more].
the US government blaming china hacking on them can now slap their own face.
Well! Snowden is not in favour of USA or China or any other country. It is just obvious. He doesn't want to work in an unsecured environment (his human side has been touched) where the country snoops each other for gaining upper hand. He felt that people cannot live normal happy life if there are organisations who felt threatened and established to seek hidden information. Who want their own secrets to be comprised by others. Ethically unethical policy!
Snowden is not in favor of any country. he just wanted to tell the world the biggest threat to the world from US government.
yes. shoking but that is not new. NSA has been hacking the world since it was born, more than 50 years, as disclosed by a former NSA worker in a recent news article.
US has given everybody the green light to hack into their American universities to "collect useful data".
the US government does not deny the fact they are doing that. but they would not stop anything.
AUYEUNGY - you don't recognise sarcasim when you read it...
I don't like this president anymore than you do, but this guy is in well over his head in this job. I have serious doubts that he was even aware of what's going on in NSA all this time. So I wouldn't pin this one on him.
hard times !
Maybe you should know that the National Security Agency of America is directly responsible to their President Obama and not the Pentagon,the Defence Dept.How couldn't Obama learn nothing about such serious and large-scale cybersping acts ? Impossible at all !
Ach, the Chinese got him already?


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