Category Archives: Espionage

Security experts claim a Chinese vessel tasked with finding MH370 is likely spying on us

A NUMBER of security experts have raised suspicions over a Chinese ship tasked with searching for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, saying they’re more likely to be spying on Australian military activity.

But some experts have said it’s likely the Chinese have used it more as an opportunity to gain valuable intelligence about Australia’s naval operations, telling The Australian it would be monitoring the military activities of Australia and its allies.

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“From my past intelligence experience I would be surprised if a vessel like the Dong Hai Jiu 101 did not have an intelligence collection role,” said Clive Williams, a former Australian Army officer who was Director of Security Intelligence.

MH370: Is China spying on Australia?

Protecting the Arsenal of Democracy from Insider Threat | The Cipher Brief

Beijing clearly sees its economic espionage as conflict by other means, a prelude to possible actual armed conflict.  The intent of that campaign is at once to boost the relative competitiveness of Chinese business and industry vis-à-vis American competitors and to deny the U.S. military the technological edge we would otherwise have enjoyed by stealing the industrial secrets and intellectual property that enable that advantage.

Further, as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has noted, while economic espionage has historically been directed against high technology and defense sector firms, no company; no matter how large or small; is immune to the threat.  And no state has been as deeply involved in such spying against us as China.

Should conflict with China actually occur, it would likely start with a small incident of Chinese aggression against our forces or those of an ally that rapidly escalates to a broader fight.  Whatever its cause, that conflict would almost certainly be very violent in character and short in duration, with the U.S. relying on forces immediately at hand to win it.  The professional skill of the U.S. military would grant us a distinct advantage in that fight.  But it is also apparent that the relative capabilities and technological sophistication of the weapons wielded by the likely protagonists would play a key, if not decisive, role in its outcome.

Protecting the Arsenal of Democracy from Insider Threat | The Cipher Brief

U.S. Steel Accuses China of Hacking – WSJ

U.S. Steel Corp. is alleging that Chinese government hackers stole proprietary methods for making lightweight steel on behalf of Chinese steel producers seeking to supply a bigger share of the U.S. auto-making market.

Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel, in a complaint filed on Tuesday with the International Trade Commission, said a computer belonging to a Pittsburgh researcher was hacked in 2011, and that plans for developing new steel technology were stolen.

U.S. Steel Accuses China of Hacking – WSJ

Norway officially accusses China of stealing military secrets – SC Magazine

General Lt Morten Haga Lunde, head of the Norwegian intelligence agency E-tjenesten, has gone on the record to accuse China of involvement in cyber-espionage activities in the country, stating that threat actors in China have stolen confidential information from Norwegian companies which is now being used in Chinese military technology. The companies hit and technology stolen was not revealed. This is believed to be the first time this Nato government has unequivocally accused China – though with attribution in hacking being so difficult, threat actors in China could be taken to mean non-government Chinese hackers working with government sanction.

Norway officially accusses China of stealing military secrets – SC Magazine

Chinese Defector Reveals Beijing’s Secrets

A defector from China has revealed some of the innermost secrets of the Chinese government and military, including details of its nuclear command and control system, according to American intelligence officials.

Businessman Ling Wancheng disappeared from public view in California last year shortly after his brother, Ling Jihua, a former high-ranking official in the Communist Party, was arrested in China on corruption charges.

Ling Wancheng, the defector, has been undergoing a debrief by FBI, CIA, and other intelligence officials since last fall at a secret location in the United States, said officials familiar with details of the defection who spoke on condition of anonymity. The defector is said to be a target of covert Chinese agents seeking to capture or kill him.

Chinese Defector Reveals Beijing’s Secrets

China and Russia are using hacked data to target U.S. spies, officials say – LA Times

Foreign spy services, especially in China and Russia, are aggressively aggregating and cross-indexing hacked U.S. computer databases — including security clearance applications, airline records and medical insurance forms — to identify U.S. intelligence officers and agents, U.S. officials said.

At least one clandestine network of American engineers and scientists who provide technical assistance to U.S. undercover operatives and agents overseas has been compromised as a result, according to two U.S. officials.

The Obama administration has scrambled to boost cyberdefenses for federal agencies and crucial infrastructure as foreign-based attacks have penetrated government websites and email systems, social media accounts and, most important, vast data troves containing Social Security numbers, financial information, medical records and other personal data on millions of Americans.

China and Russia are using hacked data to target U.S. spies, officials say – LA Times

Chinese Student Spies Overwhelm US – The Epoch Times

“He added, however, that the approach has been shockingly effective. “The Chinese are getting everything,” he said.”

According to sources, the grooming process typically takes place before the students leave to study abroad. They may get approached by Chinese security officials who remind them to remain loyal to the motherland, and ask them to report back with anything that could benefit China.

For them, spying is often viewed as a matter of patriotic duty.

Williams said the approach typically works because the Chinese spy agencies don’t ask the students for much. The individual contribution, he noted, is often so minuscule that many may not even think of what they’re doing as espionage.

Spies of a Different Type

It’s because of China’s broad-brush approach to espionage that Chinese spies are typically regarded as sloppy and careless by other security agencies.

Williams said that in the spy world, three rules are followed: “Don’t get caught, don’t get caught, and don’t get caught.” Most other countries have elaborate precautions in place to ensure their agents don’t get caught.

With China, the rules are different. “They just lie if they get caught,” Williams said. “It’s surprising how few precautions they take and how many risks they take.”

He added, however, that the approach has been shockingly effective. “The Chinese are getting everything,” he said.

Chinese Student Spies Overwhelm US – The Epoch Times

Intelligence: The Plot To Oppress China

Recently the U.S. charged a Chinese citizen (Su Bin), based in Canada, of working with two Chinese hackers to steal technical data for American military aircraft (especially the C-17, F-22 and F-35). The thefts took place between 2009 and 2013. These three appear to be freelancers, although Su Bin had plenty of contacts with Chinese aviation firms and thus had no problem finding buyers for whatever the trio obtained. Su Bin was recently arrested in Canada and is being extradited back to the United States for trial.

In the last few years more American officials have come to openly admit that a whole lot of American military and commercial technical data has been stolen via Chinese Internet (and more conventional) espionage efforts. The Americans are not providing details of exactly how they collected all the evidence, but apparently it is pretty convincing for many American politicians and senior officials who had previously been skeptical. The Chinese efforts have resulted in most major American weapons systems having tech details revealed, in addition to a lot of non-defense technology. It’s not just the United States that is being hit but most nations with anything worth stealing. Many of these nations are noticing that China is the source of most of this espionage and few are content to remain silent any longer.

Intelligence: The Plot To Oppress China

China Spy Ship Hawaii – Business Insider

Whatever intelligence China may be trying to glean from the more than 20 nations taking part in the exercise may set the country up to be disinvited to the next one. While a U.S. Navy spokesman told the Journal participants are usually invited back, at least one member of congress is not happy with the apparent intelligence gathering.

“Now we learn they chose to disrespect the 20 other international participants by sailing an intelligence gathering ship directly into the middle of the exercise,” Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, told USNI. “It is clear China is not ready to be a responsible partner and that their first trip to RIMPAC should probably be their last.”

China Spy Ship Hawaii – Business Insider

Why We Need to Spy on the Germans – The Daily Beast

I’ve lived and loved in Germany, count Berlin as one of my favorite cities, and—pending reactions to this article—may even move back there someday. But given its intense business and political ties to Russia and Iran, and Moscow’s decades-long cultivation of intelligence assets and collaborators from the first Cold War up through the current one, American intelligence agencies would be crazy not to conduct intensive espionage operations in Germany.

Ever since its postwar rebirth as the divided city at the geographic and intellectual heart of the Cold War, Berlin has been a nest of spies. The Glienecke bridge, connecting what was then Soviet-controlled territory to the American Sector in West Berlin, served as an exchange point for captured intelligence officers, earning it the nickname “Bridge of Spies.” Berlin is something of a default setting for Cold War spy novels, and for good reason: split between the Soviets and the Western powers, the city was ground zero for espionage.

Why We Need to Spy on the Germans – The Daily Beast