THE WESTERN PRESS appears to be desperate to back up Google's claim that it was hacked by the Chinese government in a Communist plot.
The fairly minor hack was blown up out of all proportion with Google threatening to leave China if the country does not stop spying on it.
However last week the New York Times reported that "unnamed security sources" had tracked the attacks to two Chinese schools, the Shanghai Jiaotong University and the Lanxiang Vocational School.
Not deterred with the fact that the attack was not traced to a government department in Beijing, the newspaper claimed that the schools had Chinese military backing and trained computer scientists. It talked about a mysterious Ukrainian professor who provided tips on how to bring down the West using the latest hacking techniques.
Such a Russian and Chinese alliance is exactly the line that is being peddled to the US administration by the country's defence contractors. It was touted publicly at the recent cyber warfare exercise sponsored by the US defence industry promoting why it should get more cash to defend the country from cyber attacks.
However, according to the AFP, it seems that the New York Times did not actually check out the so called spy school and relied on its security industry sources for its colourful descriptions.
The Lanxiang Vocational School was founded in 1984 and has about 20,000 students. Rather than having been founded by the military as a computer spy school, its main focus has been on vocational skills such as cooking, auto repair and hairdressing.
There is a computer science course but it teaches students basic stuff like how to turn their computer on and print a document. It is not run by a mysterious Ukrainian either.
In its entire history the school has packed only 38 students off to the military and that was because they were pretty good at auto repair, cooking and electric welding.
If the Google hack was done at this school then it means that the search engine outfit was not bought down by a crafty Chinese spy, but by a cook, a welder or a hairdresser. It does not say much for Western security, or the US newspaper of record. µ