Computer security experts, including investigators from the U.S. National Security Agency, are working to find the source of the online attacks on Google.
Now they have traced the cyber attacks to computers at two Chinese educational institutions—the Shanghai Jiaotong University and the Lanxiang Vocational School in eastern Shandong province, the New York Times reported.
Both schools have denied involvement in the cyber attacks.
Jiaotong is home to one of China’s best computer science departments, with links to top international schools and technology companies. According to the university’s website, its School of Information Security Engineering has been involved in various state-level security projects.
The Lanxiang Vocational School in Jinan has 30,000 students and offers courses like car maintenance, cosmetology and computing. According to the Jinan city website, the school has provided free training to troops and retired soldiers for the past five years. And in 2008 Shandong TV reported the school established the first community-based armed unit, with its students becoming important technical backbones of the army. Founder and Chairman of the Board, Ron Lanxiang rejected those claims.
It’s still not clear who exactly is behind the cyber attacks. Some experts say third parties could have accessed the computers at the schools. But according to the Financial Times, an analyst involved in the investigation says they don’t believe the computers in question were compromised.
The investigators say the cyber attacks were aimed at stealing trade secrets, computer codes and emails of Chinese human rights activists and probably started as early as April last year.
Google announced in January the cyber attacks probably came from China and threatened to leave the country.