Category Archives: INDUSTRIAL ESPIONAGE

China hackers make US uni unplug engineering computers-Is China a nation of thieves & cheats??

penn state seal-university image www.intelagencies.comchinese flag image www.druglinks.infohackers at work shadow image www.intelagencies.comchinese peoples faces image www.intelagencies.com

Washington: Penn State University, which develops sensitive technology for the US Navy, said on Friday that Chinese hackers have been sifting through the computers of its engineering school for more than two years.

One of the United States’ largest and most productive research universities, Penn State offers a potential treasure trove of technology that’s already being developed with partners for commercial applications. The breach suggests that foreign spies could be using universities as a backdoor to US commercial and defence secrets.

The hackers are so deeply embedded that the engineering college’s computer network will be taken offline for several days while investigators work to eject the intruders.

“This was an advanced attack against our College of Engineering by very sophisticated threat actors,” said Penn State President Eric Barron in a letter to professors and students. “This is an incredibly serious situation, and we are devoting all necessary resources to help the college recover as quickly as possible.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation notified the university of the breach in November 2014, spawning a months-long investigation that eventually found two separate groups of hackers stealing data.

The first group has been linked by investigators to the Chinese government, according to a person familiar with the probe. The second group has not been identified, the university says, but investigators believe it is the work of state-sponsored hackers.

The investigation and remediation efforts have already cost Penn State millions of dollars, said Nicholas Jones, the university provost.

US engineering schools – Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the California Institute of Technology, Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon, and Johns Hopkins – have been among the top targets of Chinese hacking and other intelligence operations for many years. These forays have been for both commercial and defence purposes, and universities have struggled to secure their computers against these advanced attacks.

In addition to online activities, the Chinese have sent legions of graduate students to US schools and have tried to recruit students, faculty members and others at both universities and government research facilities, several recent law-enforcement investigations show.

“There is an active threat and it is against not just Penn State but against many different organisations across the world, including higher education institutions,” said Nick Bennett, a senior manager at Mandiant, a security division of FireEye Inc., which aided the university in the investigation.

Universities “need to start addressing these threats aggressively”, Mr Bennett said in an interview.

Among Penn State’s specialties is aerospace engineering, which has both commercial and defence applications important to China’s government. The university is also home to Penn State’s Applied Research Laboratory, one of 14 research centres around America that work mainly for the military.

That the hackers were in the network undetected for more than two years raises the possibility that they used connections between computers to move into more highly guarded networks, including defence contractors, government agencies or the Navy, according to the person familiar with the investigation.

Washington Post

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Henry Sapiecha

FBI HAS FORD ENGINEER IN ITS SIGHTS OVER BUGGING DEVICES FOUND IN FORD BUILDING

Ford has called in the FBI to investigate listening devices found in meeting rooms at its Michigan head office.image www.intelagencies.com

A former Ford Motor Co engineer is being investigated by the FBI after listening devices were found in meeting rooms at company offices, the automaker has revealed.

“Ford and the FBI are working together on a joint investigation involving a former employee,” Ford spokeswoman Susan Krusel said. “As this is an ongoing investigation, we are not able to provide additional details.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation served a search warrant at Ford offices on July 11, the company cooperated, and agents left with eight listening devices, an FBI spokesman said.

Documents filed with the U.S. District Court for Eastern Michigan showing what was seized by the FBI at Ford and at the engineer’s residence show that eight Sansa recording devices were taken from Ford offices.

Three weeks earlier, the FBI served a warrant on the residence of the engineer, Sharon Leach, in Wyandotte in suburban Detroit, court records show.

Seized from the residence, according to documents filed by the FBI with the district court, were four laptop computers and a desktop computer, along with three USB drives, financial records, some documents from Leach’s employer and one T-Mobile Google telephone.

A third warrant was served to Google Inc, asking for records of Leach’s email account including emails sent to and from her account

as well as drafts of emails and deleted information associated with the email account but still available to Google, according to court documents.

Google supplied several items, including a video disk marked as a reply to the search warrant and a cover letter, according to court documents. Google sent the items by overnight delivery on Wednesday, court documents show.

However, the court documents did not show the contents of the disk or other information supplied by Google.

“Ford initiated an investigation of a now former employee and requested the assistance of the FBI,” Ford spokeswoman Krusel said.

The Detroit News, which first reported the investigation, said Leach worked for Ford for 17 years and was a mechanical engineer.

No charges have been filed against Leach, 43, the paper said.

Calls to Leach’s attorney, Marshall Tauber, were not returned on Friday.

Leach placed the devices under tables in meeting rooms to enable her to transcribe what was said for her own use and did not intend to share the recordings with anyone, the newspaper cited Tauber as saying.

The devices were not installed in rooms where the company’s board of directors would meet, the report said.

Reuters and staff

Henry Sapiecha