Report: Google Attacks Linked to 2 Chinese Schools

The New York Times is reporting that investigators examining the cyber-attacks on Google and dozens of other companies have uncovered evidence linking the attack to two schools in China.

Investigators have uncovered a link between two schools in China and the notorious Aurora attacks that victimized Google and dozens of other companies, according to a news report from The New York Times.

Citing sources close to the investigation, The Times reported the attacks, which were aimed at stealing trade secrets and computer codes and spying on Chinese human rights activists, may have begun as early as April - months earlier than previously thought.

According to The Times, the attack has been traced to computers at Shanghai Jiaotong University and the Lanxiang Vocational School, and evidence "acquired by a United States military contractor that faced the same attacks as Google" has led investigators to suspect a link to a computer science class taught by a Ukranian professor at the vocational school. Spokespeople for the schools reportedly told The Times they had not heard American investigators had traced the attacks to their campuses.

Researchers nicknamed the attack Aurora. All totaled, it is believed to have victimized more than 30 companies. Among them was Google, which claimed the cyber-attack originated in China. Since Google's announcement, researchers have sought to confirm the source of the attacks, but have largely come up wanting. Previously, researchers had linked the attack to systems in Taiwan. There was also a report tying a cyclic redundancy check algorithm in a Trojan used in the attacks to a Chinese research paper, but the significance of the code has been disputed.

The controversy has sparked tensions over cyber-security between the United States and China. The U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has asked the Chinese government to conduct a thorough and transparent inquiry into the matter, and the Chinese government has repeatedly denied any involvement.