China’s Hacking and Spying Revealed in Leak

( – On Wednesday, January 31, the Department of Justice announced it had stopped an alleged hacking ring sponsored by the Chinese government. The agency stated it stopped the group from hiding its attempts to attack American critical infrastructure. According to the report, the FBI stated the group — Volt Typhoon — used routers infected with malware to mask the origin of its hacking activities — China.

Weeks later, Newsweek reported on the matter, stating an anonymous source leaked a bunch of documents proving the FBI claims. The 190-megabyte trove reportedly reveals not only China’s alleged hacking operations, but also its mission to alter information around the globe. The documents reportedly came from private security firm I-Soon, which is tied to a top Chinese spy agency, showing its goals — spread propaganda, monitor activists, and disrupt wireless internet networks.

While most of the targets reportedly revealed in the documents were in Asia, including entire roadmaps of Taiwan, Britain was also mentioned. Newsweek didn’t mention if the US was included in the documents. Former FBI cyber expert Adam Kozy said the documents could have come from an I-Soon “disgruntled employee,” but admitted the information found there was in line with other investigations into China state-sponsored “contractors like APT41.” That Chinese-sponsored spy group has reportedly been active since at least 2012 and has targeted telecom, tech, video games, and healthcare systems in over a dozen countries.

Still, the revelation hits close to home, considering FBI Director Christopher Wray’s statements about the recent botnet disruption of alleged Chinese-sponsored backers. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning denied the accusation, accusing the United States of jumping to the wrong conclusions and making “groundless accusations” against Beijing. Mao said doing so was “extremely irresponsible,” adding that his country “firmly opposes and cracks down” on cyberattacks.

Do you think China can influence American culture through hacking? Do you believe the US should be worried about this, especially in an election year?

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