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China accused of using Caribbean mobile networks to spy on US devices

A new report alleges China has conducted mass surveillance of US mobile phones via China Unicom and proxies in the Caribbean.

The story was broken by the Guardian after it spoke to mobile security researcher Gary Miller. His Far From Home Threat Intelligence Report tracks SS7 signalling links initiated by foreign networks targeting US devices that seem dodgy. He found that in 2018 86% of all such attacks over 3G networks originated in China, with nearly all of them coming through China Unicom.

By 2019, however, hardly any attacks came from China, but the Caribbean islands of Barbados and Antigua accounted for 28% and 19% of them, respectively. Moving onto 4G, China and Unicom were once more top of the list in 2018, but France and the UK also accounted for a significant proportion for some reason. In 2019 Flow Barbados accounted for over a quarter of attacks.

Miller told the Guardian he recons the volume of attacks points to mass surveillance and the predominance of state-owned China Unicom in 2018 indicates this was state-sponsored activity. He reckons the sudden switch to the Caribbean in 2019 suggests the use of proxy networks, but also stressed that it could have happened without the network owners knowing about if, maybe via leasing arrangements.

Both China Unicom and the Chinese government denied getting up to no good and the Caribbean operators declined to comment. It should also be stressed that this is just one report and there could possibly be more innocent explanations for the findings. But you can bet the US and its allies will be taking the findings seriously, as well as having a look which vendors supply the kit used in the Caribbean networks.

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11 comments

  1. Avatar S. Cramton 15/12/2020 @ 3:07 pm

    Just another example of how much the chinese are ‘invading’ EVERYTHING in the USA.
    Way past the time to put a stop to this; the question is whether the new administration has the courage to do what is required.

  2. Avatar Gabriel Bernier 16/12/2020 @ 12:55 am

    It’s no fun when a country does what the USA has been doing for years

  3. Avatar P. 16/12/2020 @ 1:44 am

    But the us spys on every country in the world. And no one say nothing. So why china does it and its a problem. Stop spreading popoganda news

  4. Avatar Ndjizuvee 16/12/2020 @ 4:46 am

    The US has been doing it for years… Nobody condemned or sanctioned it… It’s quite normal

  5. Avatar Darkpeguin 197 16/12/2020 @ 6:00 am

    It’s another fake story to make China looks bad and try to engage the Caribbeans countries in the Huawei challenge

  6. Avatar Kumi 16/12/2020 @ 8:56 am

    Another fake story to let US to sanction chinese technology.

  7. Avatar Francis J 16/12/2020 @ 9:25 am

    Why is there no mention about the spying and the warring the Americans carried out on all other nations especially on China.

  8. Avatar mr h sun 16/12/2020 @ 9:36 am

    Isnt this fake news? We live in a society where we are innocent until proven guilty but our governments, mainly USA, can concoct a story and make another guilty by media. Crazy injustice just like with Huawei. No proof but guilty.
    Notice the article and see how they cherry picked the headline to imply China was guilty. Typical. This is double dtandard and hypicrisy with an agenda.

  9. Avatar Henry 16/12/2020 @ 11:08 pm

    The US has been doing this type of spying, including eavesdropping Merkel’s phone line.
    Jesus said one sees a needle in someone else’s eye but ignores a lump in his own eye.
    If you see a stranger standing on the street outside your house, you may suspect that this is a thief. What you ought to do is to enhance your fence and lock. Obviously, the US is unable to do that.

  10. Avatar Manjit 17/12/2020 @ 9:49 am

    It’s quite funny people are calling it a fake new. This is dangerous act can ba dangerous to manny countries if it’s done to other countries. By the way US didn’t steal anything from other countries? China’s main purpose is to steal technology and political issues. FAKE NEWS? no sir.

  11. Avatar Happiman 18/12/2020 @ 7:04 am

    It’s no surprise that Chinese government is actively stealing, abusing and bribing. That’s their fundamental culture and social norm.
    Even they justify their cheating, counterfeiting, and stealing as they put themselves as victims of Opium war. Their mindset is “As western stole our treasure, now it’s out turn to take them back.”

    “There are no exact statistics on trade secret theft ranked by nation, but China remains the world’s principal IP infringer across all types of IP theft, according to a spokesman for the IP Commission, which estimates up $600 billion annually in cost to the U.S. economy from these actions.”

    https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/28/1-in-5-companies-say-china-stole-their-ip-within-the-last-year-cnbc.html#:~:text=There%20are%20no%20exact%20statistics,U.S.%20economy%20from%20these%20action

    Chinese and stealing are deeply rooted in their social behavior.

    “Chinese have two words that are instructive on Chinese attitudes toward theft.
    The word 偷 (tou1) means to steal. The word 捡 (jian3) means to pick up something and take it as your own.
    Chinese often take pride in succeeding in ‘jian.’ They see something someone has dropped and pocket it. They go home and tell their friends excitedly about how they ‘jian’ this item.”
    https://shigroupchina.com/en/china/chinese-culture-what-is-stealing/

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