Investigators have reportedly identified the author of the malicious code used in recent cyberattacks against Google and more than 30 other US companies.
The person responsible for the code that capitalised on a weakness in Internet Explorer is a "freelance security consultant in his 30s," according to the Financial Times. The FT asserts that investigators this recent discovery makes it "far harder for the Chinese government to deny involvement."
The unnamed author of the malicious code reportedly posted a sample of his work to an online forum, and that Chinese authorities had "special access" to his work. It is not clear whether the government discovered his work as a result of his forum posting, or what kind of "special access" Chinese officials had to this code.
Despite being responsible for finding the exploit used in the attack, however, the FT says the consultant was not a part of the operation.
The FT report comes on the heels of last week's assertion by The New York Times that the attacks were traced back to two Chinese schools: Shanghai Jiaotong University and the Lanxiang Vocational School. Both institutions have denied involvement, according to Chinese state media.
The entire incident, however, raised international concerns and prompted Google to threaten to shut its China operations, citing frustration with both the security issues and the Chinese government's ongoing demands for censorship of search results.
While investigators have been making headway in discovering important clues about the recent cyber attacks, the investigation may not get much further without Chinese involvement. Security expert O. Sami Saydjari told The New York Times on Sunday that without cooperation from the Chinese, investigators will be unable to discover who was truly behind the attacks.