Dalai Lama’s office admits computers have been hacked

March 30th, 2009 - 7:36 pm ICT by IANS

Dharamsala, March 30 (IANS) The office of the Tibetan spiritual guru, the Dalai Lama, Monday admitted that its computers have been hacked into numerous times.
“We have been experiencing difficulties for quite some time… certain viruses are entering into our computers which are taking away documents and deleting files,” Thubten Samphel, a spokesperson for the Tibetan government-in-exile, told IANS.

Canadians researchers in a report said that a cyber spy network, based mainly in China, hacked into classified documents from government and private organisations in over 100 countries.

They said even the computers of the Dalai Lama’s exile centres in India, Brussels, London and New York have been infiltrated.

“We are not sure that these activities are being carried out by China-based spy network. We are taking precautions. We have asked anti-virus companies to protect information technology software and networks,” Samphel said.

The Canadian researchers, associated with Ottawa-based think tank SecDev Group and University of Toronto’s Munk Center for International Studies, said the hacking system was being controlled from computers based almost exclusively in China, but that they could not say conclusively that the Chinese government was involved.

According to the researchers, they uncovered real-time evidence of malicious software or malware that had penetrated Tibetan computer systems, extracting sensitive documents from the private office of the Dalai Lama.

They said they believed that in addition to the spying on the Dalai Lama, the system, which they called GhostNet, was focused on the governments of South Asian and Southeast Asian countries.

The Dalai Lama along with many of his supporters fled Tibet and took refuge in this hill town in northern India in 1959. His government-in-exile is not recognised by any country in the world.