China Using Great Firewall To Spy On Business Deals?

from the sneaky,-sneaky dept

Over there years, there have been plenty of articles on the Great Firewall of China, so yet another one by itself wouldn't be that interesting. However, this lengthy piece in the Australian has one tidbit that hasn't been discussed much elsewhere, which is that China may not just be using its router-based censorship for blocking access to certain content, but also for corporate espionage purposes. Not much in the way of details is given, but the article opens with a story of a US businessman negotiating a deal in Beijing with a large state-owned Chinese company -- and he's surprised to note that each morning the other side starts the discussions with whatever key points he had emailed back to the home office the night before. He believed that the Chinese government (or by proxy via an ISP) was intercepting the messages and handing them over to the firm he was negotiating with. There aren't any details (or even names) with which to verify the story (so it should be taken with a fairly large grain of salt), but it is a reminder that a censorship system need not only serve to block out content, but also to monitor what's being done as well.
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  • identicon
    Jonathan, 14 Mar 2007 @ 4:51pm

    Great Firewall

    When you know someone is spying on you, you have the upper hand as you can feed them disinformation. Essentially, you can turn the Great Firewall into a double agent.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    flamsmark, 14 Mar 2007 @ 5:11pm

    SSL, anyone?

    More importantly, wouldn't any US businessman doing business with a 'large' company of any description be communication via a strongly encrypted link?

    I don't buy that the great red router could work for business espionage: it'd have to crack all the encryption on all the traffic that went through it, then find the important bits. It sounds unlikely to me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Mar 2007 @ 2:18am

      Re: SSL, anyone?

      More importantly, wouldn't any US businessman doing business with a 'large' company of any description be communication via a strongly encrypted link?
      Using encryption can get you accused of criminal activity in China.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        ReallyEvilCanine, 15 Mar 2007 @ 3:55am

        Re: Re: SSL, anyone?

        Using encryption can get you accused of criminal activity in China.

        Yes, but steganography with very short messages inside very large tourist pictures sent to the wife and return messages hidden inside honking big pics of the kid back home should be able to get around that easily enough.

        The first comment is exactly what I thought: "If your watchers don't know that you know they're there, you can do a lot." Especially in China (but also in Russia and other countries) I already expect that I'd be watched.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Vince, 14 Mar 2007 @ 6:25pm

    More like PGP in this case... Who knows if China has hackers working to decrypt information... Of course they do!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, 15 Mar 2007 @ 1:13am

    Re: SSL, anyone?

    ...unless they stuck a keystroke logger on his Dimdows PC...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    |333173|3|_||3, 15 Mar 2007 @ 4:28am

    They would have known that he would be communicating with his company, in which case they would have been looking for enryption. Overt encypted mesages, would be likely for him to get off, but stenography might well end up with a prison term

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mr. BoJangles, 15 Mar 2007 @ 11:08am

    The Chinese

    Should never be trusted. They are one of the sneakiest races on the planet. We should boycott all products made in china. Besides all they make is inferior crap anyway. Dollar store junk!

    Mr. B

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mr. BoJangles, 15 Mar 2007 @ 11:10am

    The Chinese

    Hey Hopsing,
    Go saddle up my horse and then get your filthy ass in th ehouse and start cooking dinner.

    Mr. B

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Diggs Dirt, 16 Mar 2007 @ 7:56pm

    Really!?

    And has anyone wondered where the Chinese got the idea, and their system?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Diggs Dirt, 16 Mar 2007 @ 7:57pm

    Really!?

    And has anyone wondered where the Chinese got the idea, and their system?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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