Dubbed GhostNet, the operation is notable. Not only can it phish for information, it has remote access capabilities that can quickly and easily turn any computer into a giant listening device.
The investigation into GhostNet began after the office of the Dalai Lama suspected malware on its computers and contacted the Munk Center for International Studies to take a closer look. As the researchers dug deeper, they found more cause for concern: the operation, according to the researchers, appears to not only be spying on the Dalai Lama, but also on the governments of South Asian and Southeast Asian countries.
While researchers believe the operation is based in China, they are quick to point out that this does not necessarily mean the Chinese government was involved. "This could well be the C.I.A. or the Russians. It's a murky realm that we're lifting the lid on," Ronald Deibert, an associate professor of political science at Munk told The New York Times.
The researchers' findings, Tracking GhostNet: Investigating a Cyber Espionage Network, are due to be released this weekend on the Information Warfare Monitor Web site.