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Chinese Internet Attacks Linked to Two Schools

Jiaotong University is regarded as a top computer science university. Earlier this month, it won the 2010 ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest, referred to as The Battle of the Brains., over 102 other university teams.

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It's unclear whether students were behind the attacks, or whether the school's IP addresses or computers were used by third-party hackers. China has come under fire internationally for its seemingly lax attitude toward hackers.

A professor at one of the schools cited, Shanghai Jiaotong University, told The New York Times that he wasn't surprised that the hacks were traced to his school. "Actually students hacking into foreign Web sites is quite normal," the professor, who asked not to be named, told the newspaper.

The professor sad its likely an act by "one or two geek students" experimenting with their hacking skills or "it could be that one of the university's I.P. addresses was hijacked by others, which frequently happens."

The other school has been identified as Lanxiang Vocational School, according to the Times, which cited a U.S. defense contractor that had been attacked and traced the route of the attacks. Lanxiang is in a region with a military presence cited by Northrop Grumman as capable of registering a sophisticated Internet attack.

Jiaotong University is regarded as a top computer science university. Earlier this month, it won the 2010 ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest, referred to as The Battle of the Brains., over 102 other university teams.

"These students are at the top of their field, with the potential to solve the world's most serious problems," said Dr. Bill Poucher, ICPC executive director and professor of the Baylor University, in a statement earlier this month.

China cracked down on a notorious hacker ring late last year, Black Hawk Safety Net, that had generated more than $1 million from 12,000 customers, but the bust came only after Google had threatened to pull its business out of China, according to reports.

According to the Times, the victim companies' servers were exploited by a flaw in Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser. The hackers gained access to one computer than inserted malware into e-mail conversations between co-workers to take over a target computer.

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