Thursday, October 1, 2020

Chinese Company Harvesting Data on Think Tankers

 Here is more from the Washington Post:

Biographies and service records of aircraft carrier captains and up-and-coming officers in the U.S. Navy. Real-time tweets originating from overseas U.S. military installations. Profiles and family maps of foreign leaders, including their relatives and children. Records of social media chatter among China watchers in Washington.

Those digital crumbs, along with millions of other scraps of social media and online data, have been systematically collected since 2017 by a small Chinese company called Shenzhen Zhenhua Data Technology for the stated purpose of providing intelligence to Chinese military, government and commercial clients, according to a copy of the database that was left unsecured on the Internet and retrieved by an Australian cybersecurity consultancy.

Aside from military figures, the database seemed to scoop up tweets from influential China watchers in Washington. Tweets from Scott Kennedy, a China trade expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, frequently surface in the database, as do missives from Bill Bishop, publisher of the Sinocism newsletter, and Lyle Morris, who studies the PLA at the Rand Corp.


On Sept. 29, Microsoft said it has seen a major spike in foreign efforts to target US think tanks. 

Here is a recent Think Tank Watch piece on hackers targeting think tanks in an attempt to gather 2020 US election information.