U.S. Closing In on Google Hackers

The U.S. government is apparently getting much closer to positively identifying exactly who was behind recent hacking attacks on Google and other companies. A freelance security expert in China has already been linked to incidents, although he doesn't appear to be directly responsible for the cyber attacks, according to the Financial Times.

It appears that the Chinese government may have taken advantage of the security expert's research in order to hack into Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists.

Google revealed that it, along with several other companies, had been the focus of what it called a "highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China," in early January. At the time, Google said it planned to stop censoring content in the country despite the government's insistence, and it also said it was considering pulling all of its business ventures out of China.

Investigators have since traced the attacks to two educational institutions in China; Shanghai Jiaotong University and Lanxiang Vocational School. It appears that the school networks weren't compromised, which could indicate the attacks were intentionally launched from the facilities instead of routed through school servers.

Shanghai's Jiaotong University is known for having one of the best security-related departments in China and includes several former government commanders from the country's computer security divisions.

Despite the lack of evidence showing the facility compromised, both schools have denied any involvement in the attacks.