Copenhagen, Climategate and Cyber-Espionage: Russians, Chinese or Oil-Interests?

London, UK - 2nd February 2010, 00:55 GMT

Dear ATCA Open & Philanthropia Friends

[Please note that the views presented by individual contributors are not necessarily representative of the views of ATCA, which is neutral. ATCA conducts collective Socratic dialogue on global opportunities and threats.]

Just before the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change -- UNFCCC -- took place in Copenhagen in mid-December 2009, experts at the University of East Anglia's world-leading Climatic Research Unit were accused of manipulating data on global warming in the "Climategate" scandal over leaked emails.

Copenhagen, Climategate and Cyber-Espionage

The UK government's former chief scientist -- Sir David King -- has now said that a foreign intelligence agency was probably behind email hacking at the Climate Research Unit in East Anglia. Sir David said the co-ordinated hacking and the selective leaking of the unit's emails going back 13 years bore all the hallmarks of a skilled intelligence operation from a foreign government rather than opportunist hackers. He said, "It's the sophistication of the operation. A very clever nerd can cause a great deal of disruption and obviously make intelligence services very nervous, but a sophisticated intelligence operation is capable of yielding the sort of results we've seen here."

Sir David King said more than 1,000 emails and 2,000 documents were stolen from a back-up server used by the University of East Anglia since 1996, and recent links were carefully timed to destabilise the Copenhagen climate change summit. This represents a small fraction of the total number of emails for the period from 1996 to 2009, suggesting the information leaked had been selected for the most incriminating phrases relating to possible scientific misconduct and breaches of the Freedom of Information Act.


The existence of the stolen emails came to light in late November 2009 when someone tried to load them onto the RealClimate internet site run by climate scientists, including Gavin Schmidt of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Dr Schmidt said that hackers used a bonafide computer in Turkey as a proxy server but the attack could have been launched from any other computer located elsewhere in the world. He attempted to disable the hacking operation as it was taking place, but was prevented several times before finally succeeding. The hackers had penetrated deep into the website's database software, which required considerable skill and knowledge. An opportunistic hacker would not have had such skills, according to Dr Schmidt, including the use of remote-monitoring tools and high-level access capability.

Russians, Chinese or Oil-Interests?

Two days after the attempted RealClimate hack, the compendium file of stolen emails appeared on a server used by a company called Tomcity operating from the Russian city of Tomsk in Siberia. However, again, the uploading could have been done by anyone, skillfully controlling a proxy server elsewhere in the world. Experts have suggested that loading the email compendium file onto a Tomsk computer server may have been a deliberate attempt to lay a trail to the door of the Russian intelligence service, which has since denied any involvement in the hacking incident. Some expert analysts in Russia have said that China had more to gain from destabilising the Copenhagen conference than Russia. China has the world's fastest rising carbon emission rates and had an obvious motive for ensuring that no binding agreement or treaty emerged from Copenhagen. However, it cannot be ruled out that powerful oil interests in the West -- above all in the United States -- had as much an interest, as did Beijing, in seeing Copenhagen founder.


We welcome your thoughts, observations and views. To reflect further on this subject and others, please respond within Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn's ATCA Open and related discussion platform of HQR. Should you wish to connect directly with real time Twitter feeds, please click as appropriate:

. ATCA Open

. @G140

. mi2g Intelligence Unit

. Open HQR

. DK Matai

Best wishes

ATCA: The Asymmetric Threats Contingency Alliance is a philanthropic expert initiative founded in 2001 to resolve complex global challenges through collective Socratic dialogue and joint executive action to build a wisdom based global economy. Adhering to the doctrine of non-violence, ATCA addresses asymmetric threats and social opportunities arising from climate chaos and the environment; radical poverty and microfinance; geo-politics and energy; organised crime & extremism; advanced technologies -- bio, info, nano, robo & AI; demographic skews and resource shortages; pandemics; financial systems and systemic risk; as well as transhumanism and ethics. Present membership of ATCA is by invitation only and has over 5,000 distinguished members from over 120 countries: including 1,000 Parliamentarians; 1,500 Chairmen and CEOs of corporations; 1,000 Heads of NGOs; 750 Directors at Academic Centres of Excellence; 500 Inventors and Original thinkers; as well as 250 Editors-in-Chief of major media.

The Philanthropia, founded in 2005, brings together over 1,000 leading individual and private philanthropists, family offices, foundations, private banks, non-governmental organisations and specialist advisors to address complex global challenges such as countering climate chaos, reducing radical poverty and developing global leadership for the younger generation through the appliance of science and technology, leveraging acumen and finance, as well as encouraging collaboration with a strong commitment to ethics. Philanthropia emphasises multi-faith spiritual values: introspection, healthy living and ecology. Philanthropia Targets: Countering climate chaos and carbon neutrality; Eliminating radical poverty -- through micro-credit schemes, empowerment of women and more responsible capitalism; Leadership for the Younger Generation; and Corporate and social responsibility.

Intelligence Unit | mi2g | tel +44 (0) 20 7712 1782 fax +44 (0) 20 7712 1501 | internet www.mi2g.net
mi2g: Winner of the Queen's Award for Enterprise in the category of Innovation

mi2g is at the leading edge of building secure on-line banking, broking and trading architectures. The principal applications of its technology are: 1. D2-Banking; 2. Digital Risk Management; and 3. Bespoke Security Architecture. For more information about mi2g, please visit: www.mi2g.net

Renowned worldwide for the ATCA Briefings. Subscribe now.
Home - Profile - Values - People - Careers - Partners - Contact Us
D2 Banking - Bespoke Security Architecture - Digital Risk Management - Tools

Intelligence Briefings - Brochures - Case Studies -
SIPS Methodology FAQ (pdf)
Keynote Speeches - Articles - News Feeds - Glossary (pdf)
Terms and Conditions - Privacy Policy