China electronic spying threat

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Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe met last week in Beijing. The delegation traveling on the E-4B plane with Mr. Mattis had to take extraordinary security precautions. (Associated Press) Photo by: Mark Schiefelbein

 

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis‘ recent visit to China highlighted the security dangers posed by sophisticated Chinese electronic spying in the capital of Beijing.

Security precautions for those traveling with the defense secretary were extremely tight during his June 26-28 visit.

To prevent Chinese spying through cellphones or laptop computers, the 10 journalists traveling aboard the secretary’s Air Force E-4B nuclear command plane, a militarized Boeing 747, were prohibited from bringing any electronic devices that were taken off the aircraft during the two-day visit back onto the plane. Anything that used wireless connectivity was deemed potentially vulnerable to Chinese hacking. Continue reading

PLA’s hacking hotel

American military intelligence has identified a hotel complex that is serving as an ersatz headquarters for a Chinese military hacking unit. China is basically hiding its operations cyberattack units in plain sight.

 

U.S. military intelligence has identified a headquarters for a Chinese military hacking unit — inside two Beijing hotels.

According to an open-source intelligence report produced by the Army’s Asian Studies Detachment, “the Headquarters/Jintang and Seasons Hotel appear to be located in the same or at least adjacent buildings, both of which are, according to available information, owned by or connected to the People’s Liberation Army 4th Department.”

The Fourth Department, known as 4PLA, until recently was part of the military’s General Staff Department and is also known as the Electronic Countermeasures and Radar Department. The unit was reorganized into a new PLA service called the Strategic Support Force. The roll of the department is to conduct offensive electronic warfare and information warfare, including offensive cyberattacks. Continue reading