ClimateGate Email Hack Was "A Sophisticated and Carefully Orchestrated Attack"

Samat Jain va Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

A police investigation has determined that the email hack that led to the so-called ClimateGate debacle was not an inside job—it was a premeditated effort that was carried out remotely. The Guardian reports:

Norfolk police on Wednesday formally closed the two-and-a-half-year investigation into the hacking of emails from the University of East Anglia's (UEA) Climatic Research Unit (CRU), and confirmed the hack was the work of "sophisticated" outsiders, not a whistleblower at the university ...

Detective chief superintendent Julian Gregory, the senior investigating officer, said: "Despite detailed and comprehensive inquiries, supported by experts in this field, the complex nature of this investigation means that we do not have a realistic prospect of identifying the offender or offenders and launching criminal proceedings within the time constraints imposed by law ... However, as a result of our inquiries, we can say that the data breach was the result of a sophisticated and carefully orchestrated attack on the CRU's data files, carried out remotely via the internet."

The perps used "methods common in unlawful internet activity to obstruct inquiries" and have pretty well insured that their identities won't be uncovered by authorities. But the investigators were able to conclude that no one at the UEA or the CRU was involved in perpetrating the breach.

The news is relevant because some had speculated that the hack was an inside job; the work of a disgruntled employee or one sympathetic to the climate naysayer cohort. The results of this lengthy investigation now rule that possibility out. Multiple investigations have already cleared the scientists involved of any wrongdoing.

So, it's back to the guessing game. Who had the resources, motivation, and knowhow to remotely orchestrate a "sophisticated" effort to infiltrate one of the world's top climate research units and post the results on a Russian data server? Who indeed.

Tags: Global Climate Change

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