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09 December 2023

Chinese schools deny link to Google attack

By Reuters
A prestigious Chinese university and a lesser-known vocational school have denied a report they were the source of recent cyber attacks on Internet giant Google and other US corporations, Xinhua news agency said on Saturday.

A representative of Shanghai Jiaotong University, considered one of China's best, said the allegations in a New York Times report were baseless and even if the school's computers appeared to be involved, it did not mean the hackers were based there.

"We were shocked and indignant to hear these baseless allegations which may harm the university's reputation," Xinhua quoted the unnamed Jiaotong University spokesperson saying.

"The report of The New York Times was based simply on an IP address. Given the highly developed network technology today, such a report is neither objective nor balanced."

The Communist party boss at Lanxiang Vocational School, the other institution fingered in the report, also denied any role.

"Investigation in the staff found no trace the attacks originated from our school," Li Zixiang, party chief at the school in coastal Shandong Province, was quoted as saying.

The New York Times said Lanxiang was established with support from the Chinese military and has trained computer scientists who later joined the military, but Li said there was no relationship with the military, Xinhua reported.

He also disputed the statement that investigators suspected a link to a computer science class taught by a Ukrainian professor.

"There is no Ukrainian teacher in the school and we have never employed any foreign staff," Li told Xinhua. "The report was unfounded. Please show the evidence."

Lanxiang, founded in 1984, has about 20,000 students learning vocational skills such as cooking, auto repair and hairdressing.

Google announced in January that it had faced a "highly sophisticated and targeted attack" in mid-December, allegedly from inside China, and declared that it was no longer willing to censor search results in the country as required by Beijing.

The attacks have been a source of friction in Sino-US relations at an already tense time.


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