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China Schools Deny Involvement in Cyber-Attack

After NSA investigators traced recent cyber-attacks on Google’s servers to specific IP address at Chinese school, school and government officials have officially denied accusations.  Dismissing the report as irresponsible, a spokesperson from Shanghai Jiaotong University demanded to see evidence that such an attack could have originated from school computers, dismissing the IP information as inconclusive considering modern technology.   The spokesperson further denied any connection between the school and China’s army.  The school is a vocational college, teaching students skills in welding, mechanics, and cooking.

The back and forth between the United States and China over the attacks on Google highlight a central problem in prosecuting perpetrators of cyber-attacks, the problem of attribution.  The difficulty in pinning down the exact source of an attack is increasingly difficult in a world where hackers can disguise their location, and even a successful trace may reveal little usable evidence of the identity of the attacker.  Without more concrete methods of cyber-attribution, it is unclear how the United States and China will move past the blame-denial game towards a viable solution.


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