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Current Affairs

Nature of Cyber threat from China

Date: 16 September 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

An investigation has spotlighted an elaborate operation by a technology company with links to the government in Beijing and the Chinese Communist Party, to keep tabs on a very large number of individuals and entities in India.

 

Background

The company, Zhenhua Data Information Technology Co. Limited, calls itself a pioneer in using big data for “hybrid warfare” and the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

 

Details

  • China’s authoritarian government, ruling party, military, and many private companies frequently operate as a giant, coordinated operation, of which countries around the world are targets.

  • It was soon after the Gulf War of 1991 that the Chinese realised that the days of conventional warfare were rapidly coming to an end.

  • They analysed that if they get into the ICT (information and communications technology), they could leapfrog a couple of generations and get ahead. This decision also coincided with China turning into the electronics factory of the world.

  • In 2003, the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and China’s Central Military Commission officially approved the concept of “Three Warfares”, comprising psychological, media, and legal warfare.

  • It was then decided at the highest levels that the PLA should be an army ready to fight a war in the information domain by 2020.

  • Unit 61398 is the ‘Military unit Cover Designator’ (MuCD) of the PLA’s Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) unit that has been accused of several computer hacking attacks.

  • China started a policy of weaponising its existing manufacturing capability of civilian products for military purposes by leveraging the control over any instrument by the original equipment manufacturer.

  • The Chinese use the information for kompromat, a Russian term for any information that can compromise a person, and which can therefore, be used to blackmail him/her.

  • In 2017, China passed a law under which all Chinese companies were supposed to assist the country’s intelligence-gathering operations.