Religion in China

‘Islamic State hackers’ attack top tier Chinese university’s website urging holy war

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 January, 2016, 11:34am
UPDATED : Friday, 06 January, 2017, 1:41pm

One of the most famous universities in China says its website has been hacked by a group or person claiming to be linked to the militant organisation Islamic State.

The hackers put a photograph and audio in support of holy war, or jihad, on a Tsinghua University website for teachers and students, the Legal Evening News said.

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A member of staff at the college’s computer management centres confirmed to the South China Morning Post that the hacking had taken place, but declined to give further details.

It may be the first time that hackers linked to the militant group have attacked a web site based in China.

The hackers left a message in English on the site, according to the newspaper report.

“Everything is OK in the end. If it’s not OK, then it’s not the end”.

The comments were signed “Islamic State Hacker”.

The affected website has been shut down by the university to “prevent further spreading of the message”, the Legal Evening News said.

Other websites on the Beijing university’s server, including its homepage, remained unaffected.

Tsinghua is one of the top state universities in China and is involved in many defence and national security research projects.

Its websites have often been the target of cyber attacks, but it is not clear why it should be singled out by Islamic State.

China’s government says Islamic militants blamed for a serious of violent attacks in the country’s Xinjiang region in recent years have links to IS.

The university’s websites are regarded as better maintained and protected than many government websites.

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Tsinghua was one of the birth places of information technology in China with one of the strongest cybersecurity technical teams.

A technician at the university involved with the investigation told the Legal Evening News the website might have used a relatively weak password, which compromised its security.

It is unlikely that Islamic State hackers had acquired the advanced technology to break Tsinghua’s firewall, the technician said.

China was declared one of 18 enemy states by Islamic State last year.