back to article Beijing fingers foreign spies for data mischief, with help from consulting firm

China's Ministry of State Security released details this week of three alleged security breaches that saw sensitive data illegally transferred abroad. State-sponsored Xinhua News Agency described the breaches as "endangering the security of important data" and said by disclosing them, the Ministry sought to build awareness of …

  1. IGotOut Silver badge

    It doesn't surprise me...

    We do hear about this that and other hacked in the west, but it no doubt happens everywhere.

    Take Wannacry, Russia was far worse hit than any other country and their banks are constantly hit.

    Pretty sure NK with its tiny Internet presence is hit all the time as well.

    In short, everyone is hacking everyone else

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It doesn't surprise me...

      But some of them are still hypocritically giving lessons to others.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It doesn't surprise me...

        Your "lessons" are what some call "freedom of speech." One can't exist without the other...

  2. Colin Bull 1

    Metrological data

    I cannot understand why metrological data would be an issue. Surely this can be picked up from all those satellites circling above.

    1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

      Re: Metrological data

      but perhaps it's Chinese weather detailing the words "smog" and "pollution"? Perhaps cargo manifests listed "cheap tat for the UK Christmas buying muppets" or "iPhone clones", or airline manifests detailing "holiday jaunts for the autocracy"?

      None of them are "security issues" in Western eyes but all would be 'sensitive information' for the Chinese authorities.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Metrological data

      Fortunately we thwarted the cunning plan to use 5G to compromise England's meteorological security, and report back to Beijing that it is presently raining.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Metrological data

        If a cyclist pedals in Beijing does that mean it will rain in Manchester? That would explain a lot :-)

        1. iowe_iowe

          Re: Metrological data

          Nope, maybe not a cyclist, but one of the hundreds of new cement manufacturing plants might. In 3 years, China used 6+ billion tonnes of concrete, 40% more than USA did in the whole 20th century.

    3. thames

      Re: Metrological data

      If satellites could do the job as well as ground stations nobody with a satellite would be paying all that money to maintain all those ground stations.

      I imagine there are lots of things which are probably difficult to measure accurately remotely, such as air pressure, humidity, wind speed, amount of precipitation, etc. You might get estimates, but getting good, consistent readings under all weather conditions can probably only be done from instruments on the spot. If it could be done remotely to the degree of accuracy required, then like I said they wouldn't spend so much money on local weather stations.

      Also, a lot of satellite data can't be interpreted properly without on the spot references. I have read about satellite temperature readings having to be calibrated by comparing the satellite readings to on the spot temperatures. This then lets them interpolate the satellite readings for use in areas which don't have weather stations.

      Good weather data has important military uses, as it is used to plan when operations are feasible. Also, knowing the weather in one location can help you predict the weather somewhere else days later. In WWII the Germans went so far as to establish secret remote unmanned automated weather stations in uninhabited parts of Greenland and Labrador which would make radio reports which were used to plan U boat operations. The weather stations were found after the war by following up on German records.

      1. DWRandolph

        Re: Metrological data

        Keeping local weather data classified will make it harder for outsiders to determine how badly they are managing their pollution. Also making it more difficult for world wide efforts to be effective. Carbon levels? What is that?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "a digitally focused trade agreement that would require China to allow free flow of information across its borders."

    I've not read it, but I bet that like is commonly done in agreements, there are possible exemptions available, typically in the name of national security or some such. It's likely not that paradoxical when all the fine print.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You Keep Using That Word, I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means

      In China where even the wonton production numbers are considered a National Security Secret, "free flow of information" doesn't mean what the West thinks it means.

    2. thames

      The point of these trade agreements is to agree on what things are permissible to transfer abroad and which are not.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well, there is the minor fact that China has a habit of classifying commonly shared information between Universities as "classified" and requiring approvals. So when they call something a "security" breach, it has me wondering if it wasn't just someone helping themselves through a pre-configured access to the data they are SUPPOSEDLY authorized to have.

    It would certainly not be the first time I've heard there was a disconnect between the politboro and the people doing the work.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like