01
February
2010
|
06:33 PM
America/Los_Angeles

Is Sexual Blackmail An Issue In China Cyber-Hacking Of US Companies?

The New York Times recently reported that Britain's spy agency, MI5, warned British executives that were doing business with China, about Chinese attempts to hack into their company systems. This was more than a year ago.

[Britain Warned Businesses of Threat of Chinese Spying - NYTimes.com]

The story also said that the Chinese spying efforts combined hacking with attempts at blackmail over "sexual relationships and other improprieties."

Here's the quote in context:

By John Ward

British business executives dealing with China were given a formal warning more than a year ago by Britain's security service, MI5, that Chinese intelligence agencies were engaged in a wide-ranging effort to hack into British companies' computers and to blackmail British businesspeople over sexual relationships and other improprieties, according to people familiar with the MI5 document.

A 14 page document, warning of the range of Chinese spying techniques, was sent to hundreds of British banks and businesses.

This is very similar to what happened to Google and about 30 other US companies and resulted in Google saying it might have to leave China.

We still do not know the full story of the Chinese spying attempts but know that hackers got into an internal surveillance system at Google.

But was it an inside job? Was there some other method used to gain access to Google or other US company data systems?

Were there any attempts to blackmail people at Google, or any other US execs,"over sexual relationships and other improprieties?"

After all, those seem to be the methods used in conjunction with the Chinese hacking/spying attempts. Why would such attacks be any different against US targets? The British are, no more, or no less prone to sexual blackmail than Americans.

Will the China v US spying story reveal that such attempts took place? Will we find out if they were successful?

It is a salacious topic but that's not why I've raised it. These are important questions because the answers could warn others.

If people aren't aware that tactics such as sexual blackmail are used, then the spies have an important advantage in future missions.

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Please see:

GOOG v China Highlights Security Risk Of Wiretapping Systems