China hackers behind Indo-Kazakh cyber pact | world | Hindustan Times
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China hackers behind Indo-Kazakh cyber pact

world Updated: Apr 17, 2011 11:06 IST
Pramit Pal Chaudhuri

Chinese hackers may have inspired memorandum between India and Kazakhstan on cyber security.

The agreement, specifically mentioned to by Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev during his joint press conference with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, was proposed by the Indian side but found ready acceptance with the Central Asian government.

Kazakhstan, an oil and gas-rich nation, was targeted by coordinated cyber attacks by a group of hackers who sought to break into the computers of energy firms and secure data on oil, gas and petrochemicals.

The attacks also covered energy firms in the United States, Taiwan and Greece. Roughly a dozen energy firms, including major multinationals, were attacked. Five firms later confirmed the attacks.

Subsequent sleuthing determined that the cyber attacks originated from China and were dubbed by security firm McAfee as the "Night Dragons".

The key method used was to break into company servers and then send bogus emails to employees or breaking into employee laptops and steal confidential material.

Kazakh officials, perhaps mindful of their close economic relationship with China, denied their interest in the cyber security agreement was due to any specific attacks, saying it was a "reflection of the reality we face."