HONG KONG: “Cloud” or Not, No Media Outlet is Safe

MIRANDA PAK WRITES – Today, it’s not uncommon for people to rely on cloud or file-sharing services, such as Dropbox or Google Drive, to store documents. A ‘cloud’ is basically a service where people make an account and upload documents and, once uploaded, they can be accessed anywhere on any device with Internet connection.

While arguably convenient and reliable, hackers have taken advantage of these services, using them for their gain. Some have taken to uploading malware on these file-sharing services to trap people into downloading bad files and jeopardizing sensitive information. These techniques are usually used by seasoned hackers from locales such as China and Russia for surveillance and information.

According to Ejinsight, “Hong Kong’s Democratic Party suspects that Beijing-backed hackers had attacked the party website as well as the email accounts of some of its members.” These same hackers have since allegedly expanded their activities by using the aforementioned technique.

FireEye Threat Intelligence recently released a post stating that China-based cyber hackers are using Dropbox to also target Hong Kong media outlets. This China-based hacker group is known as “admin@338″.

These types of hacking shows how vital Hong Kong is in the eyes of China as a whole. According to FireEye, “the group, [“admin@338,”] started targeting Hong Kong media companies, probably in response to political and economic challenges in Hong Kong and China.”

Also, according to FireEye, “The targeting has often focused on Hong Kong-based media, particularly those that publish pro-democracy material […] Cyber threat groups’ access to the media organization’s networks could potentially provide the government advance warning on upcoming protests, information on pro-democracy group leaders, and insights needed to disrupt activity on the Internet.”

With such persistent groups such as admin@338, is there anywhere safe for Hong Kong journalists to store files?


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