The Canadian International Council (CIC) interviewed Mr. Jon Penney, a lawyer and Google Policy Fellow at the Citizen Lab, about a report recently released by McAfee, which contains “circumstantial evidence” pointing to the Chinese government involvement in what it claimed to be the largest series of cyber-attacks to date.

Mr. Penney acknowledged that “the report is noteworthy for bringing a large and sustained hacking campaign to light”, however, its finding “is not unprecedented; the scale and method is familiar.” In 2009, researchers at the Citizen Lab discovered Ghostnet, a cyber-spying ring with over a thousand computers infected in over 103 countries. The McAfee report contains much less information than the Lab’s release on Ghostnet, but it outlines a similar attack methodology.

Mr. Penney cautioned that it is difficult to put the blame squarely on China as the report offers “little detailed evidence on the origins of the hacking”. He said that “those responsible could be state actors, or state sponsored or encouraged actors, or private citizens carrying out their own nationalist aims, with law enforcement merely looking the other way”.

For the full interview, see here.