Revealed: Chinese Government Has Captured Vast Amounts Of Personal Data
Days after Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned about large scale attacks on Government and commercial businesses in Australia by hackers believed to be from China it’s been revealed that the Chinese Government has captured vast amounts of personal information from their hacking exploits as a result the USA has targeted two key organisations Huawei and China Telecom both organisations are partners of Australian carriers Optus and Vodaphone TPG as well as AAPT.
FBI Director Christopher Wray warned overnight that the Chinese government’s theft of information is taking place on so large a scale, suspected incidents make up nearly half of his bureau’s counterintelligence cases.
Speaking at an event hosted by the Hudson Institute in Washington, Wray said that Chinese thefts amount to “one of the largest transfers of wealth in human history,” and that people are the victims.
“Of the nearly 5,000 active FBI counterintelligence cases currently under investigation in the USA almost half are related to China,” Wray said. “And at this very moment, China is working to compromise health care organizations, pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions conducting essential COVID-19 research.”
Some of that research work is being done in Australia and ChannelNews understands that Australian signal intelligence organisations have detected attacks on Australian research organisations including the CSIRO.
It’s also been revealed that buying a Chinese smartphone from organisations such as ZTE who make the Telstra branded handsets, Huawei, Oppo, Realme, Vivo and Xiaomi are a real risk for consumers as the Chinese Government and the Chinese military is known to have investments in several manufacturers of technology gear that can be used to access information from individuals and business.
Wray said that most Americans have already been affected.
“If you’re an American adult, it is more likely than not that China has stolen your personal data,” he said.
As an example, Wray noted that in 2014 Chinese hackers stole more than 21 million records from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
Wray said that the Chinese Communist Party “uses a diverse range of sophisticated techniques — everything from cyber intrusions to corrupting trusted insiders,” and even “outright physical theft.” To do this, he claimed, they use “a wide range of actors — including not just Chinese intelligence services, but state-owned enterprises, ostensibly private companies, certain kinds of graduate students and researchers, and a whole variety of other actors working on their behalf.”
He said that Chinese communication devices such as routers and network gear along with mobiles were a risk with several brands such as Huawei and ZTE banned in the USA.
The director said that, in some cases, China uses social media platforms “to identify people with access to government’s sensitive information and then target those people to try to steal it.”
In one instance, he recalled, a Chinese operative posed as a head-hunter, offering money to a citizen in exchange for “consulting services” that related to sensitive data. In that particular case, the US national reported the suspicious behaviour to the FBI.
Wray’s remarks come a day after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Trump administration is considering restricting United States’ users’ access to the Chinese social media application TikTok over concerns it is potentially being used by the Beijing government as a means to surveil and propagandize people.
Pompeo warned Americans that they should be cautious in using the video app, lest they want their private information “in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”