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Business News/ News / World/  Indian immigration data worth nearly 100 GB stolen by Chinese hackers: Report

Indian immigration data worth nearly 100 GB stolen by Chinese hackers: Report

One leaked draft contract shows I-Soon was marketing ‘anti-terror’ technical support to Xinjiang police to track the region's native Uyghurs in Central and Southeast Asia, claiming it had access to hacked airline, cellular and government data.

An online dump of Chinese hacking documents offers a rare window into pervasive state surveillance. (AFP)Premium
An online dump of Chinese hacking documents offers a rare window into pervasive state surveillance. (AFP)

China's hackers are carrying out large-scale systematic cyber intrusions against foreign governments and companies including India. Recently, the Chinese intelligence and cyber-surveillance have breached 95.2 gigabytes of Indian immigration data, The Washington Post revealed. 

Other targeted foreign countries include Malaysia, Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Thailand, the United Kingdom, Nepal, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, and others. 

In a report published on Thursday, The Post said the Beijing's hackers alleged that they are taking advantage of weaknesses in software systems from companies such as Apple, Google, and Microsoft.

“The cache — containing more than 570 files, images and chat logs — offers an unprecedented look inside the operations of one of the firms that Chinese government agencies hire for on-demand, mass data-collecting operations," The Post report read. 

The documents originate from iSoon, aka Auxun, a Shanghai-based Chinese company that provides Chinese government agencies, security organizations, and state-owned businesses with third-party hacking and data collection services.

“One spreadsheet listed 80 overseas targets that iSoon hackers appeared to have successfully breached. The haul included 95.2 gigabytes of immigration data from India and a 3 terabyte collection of call logs from South Korea’s LG U Plus telecom provider," The Post report added. 

The hacking tools are used by Chinese state agents to unmask users of social media platforms outside China such as X, formerly known as Twitter, break into email and hide the online activity of overseas agents. Also described are devices disguised as power strips and batteries that can be used to compromise Wi-Fi networks.

I-Soon and Chinese police are investigating how the files were leaked, the two I-Soon employees told the AP

One of the employees said I-Soon held a meeting Wednesday about the leak and were told it wouldn't affect business too much and to “continue working as normal." The AP is not naming the employees — who did provide their surnames, per common Chinese practice — out of concern about possible retribution.

US intelligence officials have expressed concern about China's targeted hacking campaigns and believe that it poses the biggest long-term threat to US security. Similarly, New Delhi has also used coercion to block Chinese mobile applications, claiming Beijing may be monitoring these apps.

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Published: 23 Feb 2024, 11:46 AM IST
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