Monday, October 9, 2017

DOJ Steps In After Cyber Attack on Hudson Institute

Chinese cyberattackers allegedly crashed the website of the Hudson Institute as the think tank was about to host an event with a Chinese political dissident that the Chinese government considers to be a criminal.

Here is more from The Wall Street Journal:

A suspected Chinese cyberattack on the website of a prominent Washington think tank drew a complaint from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions this week in a meeting with top Chinese government officials.
The website of the Hudson Institute crashed earlier this week, shortly before the organization was scheduled to host an event with Guo Wengui, a fugitive Chinese businessman and political dissident who has alleged corruption within China’s leadership.
The Institute had several days earlier detected a Shanghai-based attack aimed at shutting down access to its website, according to a spokesman. The spokesman said the attack was foiled, and he attributed the website’s problems to a maintenance issue instead. The Wednesday event was called off.
Mr. Guo’s speech would have coincided with a high-level visit to Washington by Chinese government officials. On Wednesday, Mr. Sessions confronted them about the cyberattack on the Institute’s website, according to a Justice Department spokesman. He added that China “pledged to cooperate” when the issue was raised. 
In the days leading up to his canceled appearance at the Hudson Institute, the Chinese embassy made phone calls to Institute staff warning the think tank not to give Mr. Guo the opportunity to speak, according to several staff members who received such calls.
One scholar with a pending visa application to visit China received a phone call about his submission and was asked to send his colleagues a request from Beijing. “They want Hudson to cancel the Guo Wengui event because he is a criminal and tells lies,” he wrote in a message received by several Institute staffers that was reviewed by the Journal.

Here is a link to the event which says that it was "postponed."

The Chinese government is denying that it has any links to the Hudson attack.

On Oct. 2, the think tank held an event entitled "Defense Cooperation in the West Pacific: Countering Chinese and North Korean Threats."

And on Oct. 12, Hudson is scheduled to hold an event on the late Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

We should note that the Hudson Institute has good relations with the Trump Administration and congratulated Jeff Sessions on his attorney general nomination back in November.

As Think Tank Watch has reported, every major US think tank has been hit with cyberattacks, many coming from foreign governments.

Update: Guo Wengui reportedly planned to disclose three internal Chinese government documents during the Hudson event, but instead burned the documents after the event was canceled.