Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search

Was China behind cyber attack on Nobel Peace Prize website?

Tuesday's cyber attack on the Nobel Peace Prize website came less than three weeks after Norway awarded the prize to jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobao.

By Correspondent / October 27, 2010


The Norway-based Nobel Peace Prize’s website was the target of a cyber attack on Tuesday, just weeks after the controversial decision to award the prize to imprisoned Chinese dissident, Liu Xiaobo. The timing has led some tech experts to believe the attack may have originated in China.

Skip to next paragraph

“My assumption is that it is a Chinese-based actor,” said Greg Walton, an expert on information technology surveillance in Oslo yesterday for a seminar on censorship and freedom of expression in China. “I assume a lot of traffic interest is in people coming to the [Nobel] Peace Prize site. The attacker can identify the identity of people of interest to them.”

The Chinese have said that Norway's decision to give the Nobel Peace Prize to a convicted person in China showed no respect for the judicial system of China and warned it could damage China-Norway relations. Mr. Liu is serving an 11-year sentence for “inciting subversion of state power.”

IN PICTURES: Liu Xiaobo: Nobel Peace Prize recipient

Liu took part in the Tiananmen protests in 1989 and was a leading author of Charter 08, a manifesto demanding basic human rights and political reform in China that was published on Dec. 10, 2008, the 60th anniversary of the United NationsUniversal Declaration of Human Rights.

Trojan-horse virus may have come via Taiwan

Findings by the Norman malware detection team in Oslo revealed a new Trojan-horse virus was transmitted through vulnerability in Firefox versions 3.5 and 3.6, enabling the attacker to have access to infected computers. A Trojan is a malicious software (malware) that allows unauthorized access to a user's computer, most often to steal secrets such as passwords and financial information.

Mr. Walton, who studied virus samples of Trojan horses in 2008 that were targeting Tibetan activists, said yesterday's virus originated from Taiwan, but was probably used a “stepping stone” from mainland China.

He added that the virus was probably meant only to send a signal because it did not deface the website. By doing that, he said, the hacker emphasized that it wanted to “harvest the social graph of people using the website.”