Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Edward Snowden: US Government Has Been Hacking Hong Kong and China Since 2009

And what is it that President Obama has been saying? That China is attacking the US in cyberspace?

From South China Morning Post (6/13/2013; emphasis is mine):

Edward Snowden: US government has been hacking Hong Kong and China for years

Former CIA operative makes more explosive claims and says Washington is ‘bullying’ Hong Kong to extradite him

Thursday, 13 June, 2013 [Updated: 2:00AM]

Lana Lam

...In an exclusive interview carried out from a secret location in the city, the former Central Intelligence Agency analyst also made explosive claims that the US government had been hacking into computers in Hong Kong and on the mainland for years.

...Snowden said that according to unverified documents seen by the Post, the NSA had been hacking computers in Hong Kong and on the mainland since 2009. None of the documents revealed any information about Chinese military systems, he said.

One of the targets in the SAR [Special Administrative Region, i.e. Hong Kong], according to Snowden, was Chinese University and public officials, businesses and students in the city. The documents also point to hacking activity by the NSA against mainland targets.

Snowden believed there had been more than 61,000 NSA hacking operations globally, with hundreds of targets in Hong Kong and on the mainland.

We hack network backbones – like huge internet routers, basically – that give us access to the communications of hundreds of thousands of computers without having to hack every single one,” he said.

“Last week the American government happily operated in the shadows with no respect for the consent of the governed, but no longer. Every level of society is demanding accountability and oversight.”

(Full article at the link)


Anonymous said...

Yup. We have proof now.

Thought it was always pretty obvious though.

JAnonymous said...

Well now it all makes [a bit more] sense for him to be hiding in HK.

I have to say though, that "hacking routers" is quite a preposterous claim. Much more likely, the NSA asks top-tier providers for a monitoring port on all their border routers.

That's easier, and if they want to monitor all traffic that leaves/enters china, they only have to ask the few ISPs that peer with China (those who are lost should lookup BGP).

It's going to be either Asian ones (KT, NTT, to name a few) or US ones. No big hurdle here.

There is no large capacity fiber crossing Eurasia that would leave from China and go through Russia. Such a fiber would be a gamechanger, as the US would need to monitor Russia as well to get all traffic from China.

When you're hacking a backbone router, even keeping only metadata generates a huge flow of data that can't leave the ISP's network without being noticed. Hence my hypothesis that ISPs do it on their own free will. Also, it allows to close the loop back to the verizon/att/whatever story. It's not only phone data, it's probably IP packet data as well. As anon above said, we don't really doubt it, tho.

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