Last updated: February 23, 2010 - 9:40am
US analysts believe they have identified the Chinese author of the critical programming code used in the alleged state-sponsored hacking attacks on Google and other western companies, making it far harder for the Chinese government to deny involvement.
Their discovery came after another team of investigators tracked the launch of the spyware to computers inside two educational institutions in China, one of them with close ties to the military. A freelance security consultant in his 30s wrote the part of the program that used a previously unknown security hole in the Internet Explorer web browser to break into computers and insert the spyware, a researcher working for the US government said. Chinese officials had special access to the work of the author, who posted pieces of the program to a hacking forum and described it as something he was "working on". The developments will add to the furor over the hacking campaign, revealed last month when Google said its systems had been compromised. It threatened to pull out of China, and secretary of state Hillary Clinton asked the Chinese foreign minister for a probe.
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