Typical spy cases released as China embraces 7th National Security Education Day, emphasizing digital and cyber security
Published: Apr 15, 2022 03:06 PM
cyber attack Photo: CFP

cyber attack Photo: CFP

Friday marks the 7th National Security Education Day in China. While conducting educational activities, security authorities released several cases on Friday, putting emphasis on the security challenges in non-traditional areas, especially digital and cyber security.

This year's national security education activities also highlighted the significance of raising awareness of national security throughout the society. It may sound like it doesn't concern us, but in fact it is relevant to everyone. Some spy techniques in movies may be hidden all around us, analysts said, noting that photos, comments and online talk groups, or a free offer could all be a trap.

In a case revealed by national security authority in South China's Guangdong Province recently, a Taxi driver became the clue of gigging out an anti-China propaganda group.

In April 2021, a passenger in Guangzhou reported a taxi driver to the police, saying the driver was selling him "inside information," and broadcast cult propaganda audio , which contained "reactionary remarks that threatened the country's political security."  

After investigation, the police later dug up a cult propaganda WeChat group set up by an anti-China figure surnamed Qian who lives abroad. The police said that Qian often released self-made programs commenting on current affairs and promoted cult activities. Qian also encouraged members to constantly entice people to join the group, mostly using money. 

In another case that occurred in June 2021, a Guangzhou resident surnamed Xu picked up a suspicious electronic device when he was fishing with friends on a reef in the South China Sea. The device, with a foreign mark on the outside, was later found that it had an information transmitting equipment inside.  

The national security authority of Guangdong confirmed after examination that the special equipment was being illegally used by other countries to collect and send signals in waters within China's territory, which may endanger China's territorial and maritime security. 

In August 2021, two officials from a village near a military base in Shanwei, Guangdong, noticed two suspicious men had been photographing the village committee's bulletin board. The two men said that they were entrusted by customers but they were not clear about the client.

After a review, police found that one of the suspects was on a wanted list by the state security organs. And he was later arrested on suspicion of spying for foreign governments and illegally providing state secrets.

The two village officials told media that they often remind villagers not to take photos of military training, as everyone is responsible for safeguarding national security.  

The Chinese national security authority also gave some examples of cyberattacks by an overseas intelligence agency meant to take control of China's vital digital infrastructure.  They said, since 2020, they noticed that the domestic net and information system belonging to some Chinese telecom operators and airlines witnessed abnormal incidences including unauthorized logins and data leaks, which they suspected may be linked to cyber-attacks.

The authority conducted an investigation and found that Trojan Horse programs had been implanted into these units' core systems.  Some extracted data had been sent from overseas.

On the espionage front, a case from 2016 was picked up again by Xinhua News Agency on Friday. In 2016, a Zhanjiang resident surnamed Zheng received an email from an overseas maritime data company. The company claimed that they can provide a set of AIS base station equipment worth several thousand yuan for free. With just simple assembly and erection at home, the equipment could help Zheng get an account to obtain the dynamics of ships around the world.  

For more than four years, the base station set up at Zheng's home, which is less than 3 kilometers away from a military port, transmitted an incalculable amount of data abroad. But Zheng didn't know.

Security authorities have verified that the overseas company has extensively recruited "data contributors" like Zheng in China's coastal ports to set up base stations and collect information about the country's vast number of ships.  

Analysts warned that many people may feel that political infiltration, division and subversion, and intelligence stealing are just something that only happens on TV, but it may be happening around us every day. 

Each of us is a line of defense for national security, and a secure and stable national environment requires our joint efforts, Xinhua said.  

Global Times