Snowden Releases Info on US Hacking of China

The South China Morning Post has published more details released by Edward Snowden, this time the disclosures pertain to the United States’s hacking of China.  The US formally charged Snowden yesterday and SCMP reports that Snowden is still in Hong Kong, in a “safe place.” 

The details regard the hacking of major telecommunication companies in China to access text messages, sustained attacks on the network backbones in China, and hacking of computers at the Hong Kong headquarters of Pacnet, owners of an extensive fiber optic submarine cable network.  More information is scheduled to be released tomorrow by the South China Morning Post.

“The NSA does all kinds of things like hack Chinese cell phone companies to steal all of your SMS data.” said Snowden. The use of text messages in China is “the most preferred communication tool in mainland China.”

Snowden shared information about attacks on the top education and research institute in China, Tsinghua University. “Snowden said the information he shared on the Tsinghua University attacks provided evidence of NSA hacking because the specific details of external and internal internet protocol addresses could only have been obtained by hacking or with physical access to the computers.”

According to Snowden, in 2009 “computers owned by Pacnet in Hong Kong were attacked by the US National Security Agency but the operation has since been shut down.” 

However, it was revealed early this year, that China had been hacking into the US as well. The New York Times published that is had been hacked for the last four months by Chinese hackers. “For the last four months, Chinese hackers have persistently attacked The New York Times, infiltrating its computer systems and getting passwords for its reporters and other employees.” In order to get to the NYT servers, the hackers “tried to cloak the source of the attacks on The Times by first penetrating computers at United States universities and routing the attacks through them, said computer security experts at Mandiant, the company hired by The Times.” We can add hacking into US universities to the list Chinese hacking targets.

Dow Jones & Co. owners of the Wall Street Journal also reported being hacked by China. “Chinese hackers for years have targeted major U.S. media companies with hacking that has penetrated inside newsgathering systems, several people familiar with the response to the cyberattacks said.”

The US has asked Hong Kong authorities to detain Snowden. Good luck with that. 

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