China bugs and burgles Britain

Discussion in 'China' started by Daredevil, Feb 1, 2010.

  1. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    China bugs and burgles Britain

    A restricted report by the security service MI5 describes how China has attacked UK companies in a concerted hacking campaign

    THE security service MI5 has accused China of bugging and burgling UK business executives and setting up “honeytraps” in a bid to blackmail them into betraying sensitive commercial secrets.

    A leaked MI5 document says that undercover intelligence officers from the People’s Liberation Army and the Ministry of Public Security have also approached UK businessmen at trade fairs and exhibitions with the offer of “gifts” and “lavish hospitality”.

    The gifts — cameras and memory sticks — have been found to contain electronic Trojan bugs which provide the Chinese with remote access to users’ computers.

    MI5 says the Chinese government “represents one of the most significant espionage threats to the UK” because of its use of these methods, as well as widespread electronic hacking.

    Written by MI5’s Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure, the 14-page “restricted” report describes how China has attacked UK defence, energy, communications and manufacturing companies in a concerted hacking campaign.

    It claims China has also gone much further, targeting the computer networks and email accounts of public relations companies and international law firms. “Any UK company might be at risk if it holds information which would benefit the Chinese,” the report says.

    The explicit nature of the MI5 warning is likely to strain diplomatic ties between London and Beijing. Relations between the two countries were damaged last month after China’s decision to execute a mentally ill British man for alleged drug trafficking.

    Earlier this month the United States demanded that China investigate a sophisticated hacking attack on Google and a further 30 American companies from Chinese soil.

    China has occasionally attempted sexual entrapment to target senior British political figures. Two years ago an aide to Gordon Brown had his BlackBerry phone stolen after being picked up by a Chinese woman who had approached him in a Shanghai hotel disco.

    The report says the practice has now extended to commercial espionage. It says Chinese agents are trying to cultivate “long-term relationships” with the employees of key British companies: “An undercover intelligence officer may try to develop a friendship or business relationship, often using lavish hospitality and flattery.

    “Chinese intelligence services have also been known to exploit vulnerabilities such as sexual relationships and illegal activities to pressurise individuals to co-operate with them.”

    The warning to British businessmen adds: “Hotel rooms in major Chinese cities, such as Beijing and Shanghai, which are frequented by foreigners, are likely to be bugged ... hotel rooms have been searched while the occupants are out of the room.”

    It warns that British executives are being targeted in China and in other countries. “During conferences or visits to Chinese companies you may be given gifts such as USB devices or cameras. There have been cases where these ‘gifts’ have contained Trojan devices and other types of malware.”

    China has repeatedly denied spying on Britain and the West. Its London embassy did not comment.

    In 2007 Jonathan Evans, the director-general of MI5, had written privately to 300 chief executives of banks and other businesses warning them that their IT systems were under attack from “Chinese state organisations”.

    There have been unconfirmed reports that China has tried to hack into computers belonging to the Foreign Office, nine other Whitehall departments and parliament.

    Last year a report by Whitehall’s joint intelligence committee said China may be capable of shutting down critical services such as power, food and water supplies. But the latest document is the most comprehensive and explicit warning to be issued by the UK authorities on the new threat. Entitled The Threat from Chinese Espionage, it was circulated to hundreds of City and business leaders last year.

    The growing threat from China has led Evans to complain that his agency is being forced to divert manpower and resources away from the fight against Al-Qaeda. His lobbying helped to prompt the Cabinet Office to set up the Office of Cyber Security, which will be launched in March.
     
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  3. plugwater

    plugwater Elite Member Elite Member

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    Chinese hacking is going to be a major issue in the coming years.
     
  4. mattster

    mattster Respected Member Senior Member

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    All countries spy on each other in areas of national security, defense, military, etc.

    But what makes China's operation so different, is that they are not only going after national security based or political organizations.
    They are try to hack into private commercial enterprises, CEO conversations, civilian organizations, law firms, PR firms, and virtually anything they can get their hands on.

    It is a vast operation that can only be set-up by the state, despite all their "plausible deniability strategy."
    The fact that similar allegations have come from the US, UK, Indian governments as well as private companies like Google, clearly shows that this is a very organized fishing expedition by the Chinese.

    To me personally; it demonstrates that the CCP is a paranoid organization that is leery of the changes that are happening in today's world.
    They are fearful of their grip on power.
    Ostensibly, it demonstrates a weakness in their entire "value system", but the Chinese probably see it as a strength.

    It also severely diminishes China in the eyes of the citizens of the world, despite all their economic power.
    This type of state-sponsored behavior is an absolute killer of soft power potential.

    It simply makes them look weak and pathetic !!
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2010
  5. tarunraju

    tarunraju Moderator Moderator

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    Now that it's becoming increasingly clear that China will be an irresponsible superpower, far more than the US and USSR, it's time the world caps its rise.
     
  6. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Britain Warned Businesses of Threat of Chinese Spying

    By JOHN F. BURNS
    Published: January 31, 2010
    LONDON — British business executives dealing with China were given a formal warning more than a year ago by Britain’s security service, MI5, that Chinese intelligence agencies were engaged in a wide-ranging effort to hack into British companies’ computers and to blackmail British businesspeople over sexual relationships and other improprieties, according to people familiar with the MI5 document.

    The warning, in a 14-page document titled “The Threat from Chinese Espionage,” was prepared in 2008 by MI5’s Center for the Protection of National Infrastructure, and distributed in what security officials described as a “restricted” form to hundreds of British banks and other financial institutions and businesses. The document followed public warnings from senior MI5 officials that China posed “one of the most significant espionage threats” to Britain.

    Details of the document were confirmed Sunday by two people familiar with its contents, who both spoke on an anonymous basis because of the sensitivity of the subject. The document’s existence was first reported in the British newspaper The Sunday Times.

    Last month, Google announced that it was considering ending its operations in China after a “sophisticated and targeted” cyberattack that it said aimed primarily to gain access to the e-mail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. Google said it was no longer willing to cooperate with China in what amounted to censorship of its search engine, which Google had operated in a way that prevented millions of Chinese from reaching Web sites deemed hostile by Beijing.

    Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has called on China to investigate the cyberattacks, and said that companies like Google should refuse to support “politically motivated censorship.” Without acknowledging any government involvement in the attacks, China has responded by saying that Internet companies like Google are welcome to do business in China “according to the law.” A Foreign Ministry spokesman said that “Chinese law proscribes any form of hacking activity.”

    But a starkly different picture emerges from the document circulated by MI5, Britain’s domestic security service. The Sunday Times account, quoting from the document, said that officers from the People’s Liberation Army and the Ministry of Public Security had approached British businesspeople at trade fairs and exhibitions with offers of “gifts” that included cameras and computer memory sticks that were found to contain bugs that provided the Chinese with remote access to the recipients’ computers.

    “There have been cases where these ‘gifts’ have contained Trojan devices and other types of malware,” the document said, according to The Sunday Times. The accuracy of the paper’s citations from the document was verified by the two people contacted by The New York Times who said they had seen the document.

    The MI5 report described how China’s computer hacking campaign had attacked British defense, energy, communications and manufacturing companies, as well as public relations companies and international law firms. The document explicitly warned British executives dealing with China against so-called honey trap methods in which it said the Chinese tried to cultivate personal relationships, “often using lavish hospitality and flattery,” either within China or abroad.

    “Chinese intelligence services have also been known to exploit vulnerabilities such as sexual relationships and illegal activities to pressurize individuals to cooperate with them,” it warned. “Hotel rooms in major Chinese cities such as Beijing and Shanghai which have been frequented by foreigners are likely to be bugged. Hotel rooms have been searched while the occupants are out of the room.”

    Britain’s powerful Joint Intelligence Committee, responsible for analyzing and coordinating policy between MI5 and MI6, the Secret Intelligence Service that is responsible for Britain’s foreign intelligence activities, warned last year that China’s growing sophistication in cyberespionage could enable it to shut down critical services, including power, food and water supplies.
     
  7. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    What did people China to do?? They want to keep rising at the expense of everyone else. Chinese are trying to build a defense industry one that will have a strong foundation of 50% Russian reversed engineered weapons and 50% stolen technology from the rest of the world.
     
  8. mattster

    mattster Respected Member Senior Member

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    But wait a minute LF, its not just defense industry. This is wholesale economic espionage, unlike anything the world has seen before.
    The Chinese are creating their own new model of industrial and economic espionage which violates all basic norms of human decency and privacy.

    Not that the Chinese ever had much belief in common human ethics, but these guys are stooping to a new low.
    They dont realize how pathetic they look when they engage in this type of behavior.
     
  9. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    you are right Mattster this is espionage unseen in the world, one example of this is what happened at TDAmeritrade where 6 million account holders data was stolen by a bug planted by an employee traced back to China but it was not disclosed.

    http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/technology/2009-10-26-ameritrade-suit_N.htm

    By Josh Funk, AP Business Writer
    OMAHA — A federal judge has refused to approve a class-action settlement over contact information stolen from online brokerage TD Ameritrade
    U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker in San Francisco says the deal offers little significant benefit to the more than 6 million current and former customers affected. The proposed deal offered anti-spam software and a promise of tighter security at TD Ameritrade.
     
  10. tarunraju

    tarunraju Moderator Moderator

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    I think this is what communism has done to them. Communism, and the state's totalitarian regime has crippled fine arts, one area of education which gives the country intellectual resources to come up with 'original thoughts'. The reasons for crippling fine arts is clear. It breeds 'free thought', and the last time a lot of students decided to have 'free thought', Tianamen Square incident happened.

    Chinese by nature are supposed to be highly 'original' people. Remember, this is the same country which made some of mankind's greatest inventions. It gave mankind paper, the compass, printing, and gun-powder (and fireworks), and a lot more. But sadly an entire civilization and its scientific temperament has been enslaved by a regime which only seeks to keep its power at the expense of anything.

    On the other hand, the people of Taiwan (same race, same heritage), constantly invent and innovate in the fields of electronics, VLSI, engineering, and everything possible from their limited resources.
     

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