The Globe and Mail is reporting today that researchers based at the University of Toronto’s Munk Centre for International Studies, along with two private internet security consultancies, SecDev and the Shadowserver Foundation, have uncovered a worldwide network of automated intrusion programs (or botnet) based in China. The report called Shadows in the Cloud describes how over 1300 infected computers containing information related to all kinds of material from the Dalai Lama, the Indian government and US security were linked back to Chinese sources. The authors include Greg Walton who wrote the excellent early report on China’s ‘Golden Shield’ Internet surveillance and censorship system a few years ago. It can’t be said for certain that this was a Chinese state operation: as with the attacks on Estonia from Russian sources back in 2007, suspicions just as much centre on ‘patriotic hackers’, who are just doing this out of a sense of outrage at opposition to their country’s leadership. And no doubt, this is far from the only nationally-oriented botnet system.