Tag: espionage

China Uses Party Committee Mechanisms For Indirect Spying
Asia Pacific Focus

China Uses Party Committee Mechanisms For Indirect Spying

Indirect Spying: China has taken its party system way too seriously, when it has been revealed that it actually has specific party representation through a consortium of parties that fall under the state control. These party links have been traced back to Indian Consulate in Shanghai and seven such representations have been revealed through a trusted source to the media in India. 

Apparently, a Chinese state-owned recruitment agency was roped in to provide such employment that has presence not just in India but in other parts of the world too. The Communist Party in China functions through the system of branches. Many big corporations in China function through committees. 

The source has also confirmed the presence of atleast 79,000 CPC branches. It lists over 1.95 million people as CPC members, which is about 2.1 percent of the estimated total CPC membership base of 92 million. According to trusted sources, it has been confirmed that these CPC members are employed with multinational corporations across banking, defence, pharmaceutical and financial sectors. The companies include ANZ, HSBC, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Volkswagen and Boeing.

This just means there is no information that is not reaching Beijing and that hidden espionage cannot be ruled out. Alteast seven CPC branches have Indian connections with almost 90plus membership. Currently, there are as many as 30 Chinese representative working in various foreign consulates through the services of Chinese state-owned Foreign Agency Service Department. Earlier on in the year, it was discovered that China was trying to hack into the telecommunication links of India via Chinese telecom and IT companies that were selling spare parts to India. Cases of cyber phishing through dubious hardware were reported. The Centre then levied a ban on any Chinese spare parts to be picked by Indian counterparts without due diligence. 

China exploits Caribbean phone networks to pry on Americans
Asia Pacific Focus

China exploits Caribbean phone networks to pry on Americans

Caribbean phone networks: A mobile network security expert has alleged China of using Caribbean mobile phone networks for surveillance and spying on American phone subscribers. The report was made by analyzing signal data. This has highlighted the decades old China’s alarming behavior of exploiting global telecommunication network to carry out espionage activities against the US. 

The “alleged” attacks by China are believed to enable it to target, intercept and spy on the communications made by US phone users through telecom operators. 

Gary Miller, a Washington based former mobile network security executive, said that in many cases it has been observed that China has been utilizing Caribbean network to carry out its surveillance. Miller has spent years studying and analyzing intelligence reports related to mobile threats and also observing traffic signal between US and foreign operators. 

The allegations suggest that China used state-controlled mobile phone operator to direct signaling messages to US phone subscribers, especially when they are travelling abroad. “Signaling messages” can be understood as commands which are sent by telecoms operators across the global network, without the knowledge of mobile phone user. This allows mobile operators to locate the phones and connect one phone user to another. But some signaling messages, like in this case, can be used for illegal purposes, like tracking and intercepting communications.

Though US phone operators can successfully block these interceptions, but according to Miller, much hasn’t been done actively in this direction. This is also because many operators are not aware of how insecure the networks are. 

Miller said, “Government agencies and Congress have been aware of public mobile network vulnerabilities for years. Security recommendations made by our government have not been followed and are not sufficient to stop attackers.” 

“No one in the industry wants the public to know the severity of ongoing surveillance attacks. I want the public to know about it,” he added. 

In 2018, Miller shares that he found out that China had conducted the maximum number of phone network surveillances on US subscribers over 3G and 4G networks. These espionage activities were mostly routed through China Unicom, state owned telecom operator. This gives a solid indication of this being a state-authorized espionage. Miller also believes that thousands of such surveillances have been carried out by China from 2018 to 2020.

“Once you get into the tens of thousands, the attacks qualify as mass surveillance, which is primarily for intelligence collection and not necessarily targeting high-profile targets. It might be that there are locations of interest, and these occur primarily while people are abroad,” Miller said.

Miller also notes “unique cases” in which the targeted US phone users by China Unicom were also simultaneously targeted by two Caribbean operators – Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) and Cable & Wireless Communications (Flow) in Barbados. These cases occurred multiple times in span of 4-8 weeks, indicating as a “strong and clear” coordinated attacks. 

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