China has been the subject of widespread anger across the globe as the pandemic spreads its deadly wings at a rapid pace. In a sign of rising anger against China, a group of hackers have targeted the Chinese government agencies, diplomatic missions and WHO purportedly to gain information about the pandemic.
At a time when remote working arrangements have to be made due to the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, companies and government agencies are more susceptible to espionage attacks. In a massive cyber-espionage campaign, China’s agencies and diplomatic missions have been terrorised by the hackers through their Virtual Private Networks (VPN).
According to a report by Chinese web security provider Qihoo 360, Chinese agencies and diplomatic missions in countries including Italy, the UK, North Korea and Thailand have been attacked. Above that the web properties of the World Health Organisation, WHO ..
“Since March this year, more than 200 VPN servers have been compromised and many Chinese institutions abroad were under attack. In early April, the attack spread to government agencies in Beijing and Shanghai,” said the report by Qihoo 360.
The report further speculated that the motive behind the attack on the Chinese agencies is to gain information related to the pandemic. The hackers replaced a file in the VPN programme’s security update with a file that gave the hackers a backdoor access to the user’s devices. The users after being prompted to update their VPN client, unknowingly downloaded the file placed by the hackers which gave them unmitigated access to their devices.
Earlier in March, hackers targeted the WHO with Qihoo 360 believing that it was the same group behind both the attacks. WHO Chief Information Security Officer Flavio Aggio claimed that the attack was unsuccessful but the identity of the hackers remained clear. He further warned that the espionage attacks against the WHO has soared in the past few months.
“There has been a big increase in targeting of the WHO and other cybersecurity incidents. There are no hard numbers, but such compromise attempts against us and the use of (WHO) impersonations to target others have more than doubled,” said Flavio Aggio.
In the present scenario, it is not far-fetched to say that the recent spurt of hacking attacks on the Chinese agencies and the WHO is a result of the widespread anger and the hunger for punishing the Chinese government and the WHO for colluding and blinding the world over the nature of the pandemic.
During the peak of the pandemic in China, the country severely underreported the death toll and abducted and disappeared those who dared to expose the Chinese government. Despite the fact due to the sheer incompetence and the blatant lying by the Chinese Communist Party, millions of people have been infected with the world economy effectively sliding into recession, China is yet to mend its ways.
First indications of China looking to profiteer out of the Pandemic in terms of pushing Huawei came when CCP mouthpiece Global Times issued an open threat, quoting a Chinese analyst as saying, “US moves to restrict sales of technology to Huawei may backfire amid the #COVID19, as China could ban the export of face masks and other medical gear to America.” The threats are becoming that much clearer with Huawei’s Chairman-CEO Eric Xu warning that the US moves to step up pressure on the Chinese tech giant could spiral into retaliatory action from Beijing that could damage its worldwide industry.
In the case of France, the Chinese President Xi Jinping is reportedly not even beating around the bush, and when the French President Emmanuel Macron requested supply of masks, Jinping bluntly made it clear that medical equipment would be supplied only if France accepts Huawei’s 5G technology.
China hasn’t sparred Italy either, even after Rome has been bearing the brunt of cozying up to the Dragon and joining the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)- China’s flagship “debt trap” diplomacy program. In what exposes Beijing’s humanitarian outreach, it has sold Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to Italy. So far so good? The catch is that it is the same supply that Italy had donated to China in the latter’s fight against the COVID-19 in the first place.
The recent developments are perhaps a clear indication that China is going to be in deep trouble after the world has collectively fought the pandemic.