• Sun
  • Dec 21, 2014
  • Updated: 1:59pm
Edward Snowden
NewsHong Kong
SECURITY

Edward Snowden: Classified US data shows Hong Kong hacking targets

Top-secret US government records shown to Post by whistle-blower give details of computer IP addresses hacked by NSA in HK and mainland

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 June, 2013, 8:23pm
 

Classified US government data shown to the South China Morning Post by whistle-blower Edward Snowden has provided a rare insight into the effectiveness of Washington's top-secret global cyberspying programme.

New details about the data can be revealed by the Post after further analysis of information Snowden divulged during an exclusive interview on Wednesday in which the former CIA computer analyst exposed extensive hacking by the US in Hong Kong and the mainland.

The FBI said yesterday it had launched a criminal investigation and was taking "all necessary steps" to prosecute Snowden for exposing secret US surveillance programmes.

FBI Director Robert Mueller told the House Judiciary Committee: "These disclosures have caused significant harm to our nation and to our safety. We are taking all necessary steps to hold the person responsible for these disclosures," he said.

Snowden, the man behind explosive leaks of information on the US government's Prism programme that collected phone and web data from its citizens, has pledged to stay in Hong Kong to fight any attempts by his government to have him extradited.

The detailed records - which cannot be independently verified - show specific dates and the IP addresses of computers in Hong Kong and on the mainland hacked by the National Security Agency over a four-year period.

They also include information indicating whether an attack on a computer was ongoing or had been completed, along with an amount of additional operational information.

The small sample data suggests secret and illegal NSA attacks on Hong Kong computers had a success rate of more than 75 per cent, according to the documents. The information only pertains to attacks on civilian computers with no reference to Chinese military operations, Snowden said.

"I don't know what specific information they were looking for on these machines, only that using technical exploits to gain unauthorised access to civilian machines is a violation of law. It's ethically dubious," Snowden said in the interview on Wednesday.

Snowden, who came to Hong Kong on May 20 and has been in hiding since, said the data points to the frequency and nature of how NSA operatives were able to successfully hack into servers and computers, with specific reference to machines in Hong Kong and on the mainland.

According to a New York Times report yesterday, US government lawyers, working with their counterparts in Hong Kong, are understood to have identified several dozen criminal offences with which Snowden could be charged under both Hong Kong and American laws. One of the targets Snowden revealed was Chinese University, home to the Hong Kong Internet Exchange which is a central hub of servers through which all web traffic in the city passes.

A university spokeswoman said yesterday that staff had not detected any attacks to its "backbone network".

Yesterday's revelation that the US was secretly hacking computers in Hong Kong and on the mainland sent shockwaves around the world and came just days after Snowden first exposed the Prism programme to The Guardian newspaper in Britain.

"The primary issue of public importance to Hong Kong and mainland China should be that the NSA is illegally seizing the communications of tens of millions of individuals without any individualised suspicion of wrongdoing," Snowden said. "They simply steal everything so they can search for any topics of interest."

Snowden's most recent job was as an NSA contractor with Booz Allen Hamilton but he was fired shortly after he identified himself on Sunday as the source of one of the most significant leaks in US history.

Formal charges are the first necessary step that would prompt an extradition request to the Hong Kong government.

Snowden could find himself at the centre of a diplomatic storm between Washington and Beijing as he has explicitly chosen to seek refuge in Hong Kong, a move that will test the Sino-US relationship. He said he had chosen Hong Kong because he believed the city's semi-autonomous status and rule of law would protect him from attempts to extradite him to the US.

It is understood that Snowden arrived in Hong Kong after leaving his home in Hawaii, telling his girlfriend that he would be away for a few weeks.

He stayed at the Mira Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui before checking out on Monday and has been in hiding since.

Snowden said he has not spoken to his family since the revelations were made and lives in constant fear for his own safety. 

 

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This article is now closed to comments

ahaa
Can we get this guy off the news for a day? He is going to write a book in prison and earn another million.
joyalsofi
"US government lawyers, working with their counterparts in Hong Kong, are understood to have identified several dozen criminal offences with which Snowden could be charged under both Hong Kong and American laws." Just who are the counterparts to the US government lawyers who are seeking to gain custody of Snowden for political purposes? Would those be the same US government lawyers who worked with the Chinese to send back Chen Guangcheng? Oh, wait a minute, they didn't do that, why should Hong Kong?
dean.jackson.562
The fact that Snowden hasn't revealed that the collapse of the USSR in 1991 was a strategic ruse under the "Long-Range Policy" (LRP), the "new" and more subtle strategy all Communist nations signed onto in 1960 to defeat the West with, and goes to totalitarian China (of all places!), tells us he's a Communist agent. In fact, Snowden's mission is two-fold...to distract from the IRS and Benghazi scandals; everyone knows that the NSA will illegally conduct surveillance on everyone and every nation.
The next major disinformation operation under the LRP will be the upcoming fraudulent collapse of the Chinese Communist government, subsequent to which Taiwan will be politically stymied from not joining the mainland:
“Since at least the early 1970s, the Communist party of China has been poised to create a spectacular but controlled “democratization” at any appropriate time. The party had by then spent two decades consolidating its power, building a network of informants and agents that permeate every aspect of Chinese life, both in the cities and in the countryside. Government control is now so complete that it will not be seriously disturbed by free speech and democratic elections; power can now be exerted through the all-pervasive but largely invisible infrastructure of control. A transition to an apparently new system, using dialectical tactics, is now starting to occur.” -- Playing the China Card (The New American, Jan. 1, 1991).
ejmciii
Especially when he has goods to peddle. Who would expect anything less of a spy?
preventallwas.org
Edward Snowden’s actions prove that official and military secrets will never again be as covered. Instant Digital Information Technology ruins the old canopy of secrecy over national governments and military establishments. This has valid implications for such age-old, planned but dreadful events as war. Can any military power sustain them?
Military force against any enemy is soon noticed by the world and weakened by protests. Results of USA’s vast military assets against a rag-tagged Taliban or the sharing of vital industrial and military secrets with China come to mind.
Instant Digital technology use is simple and electronic spying will grow. NOTHING CAN STOP IT! Even USA’s gov., and perhaps others, utilizes this reality against their own citizens. THEREFORE POSSESSION OF OVERWHELMING MILITARY POWER IS INCREASINGLY USELESS AND UTTERLY WASTEFUL FOR NATIONAL ECONOMIES.
The above stresses need for the very efficient and enforceable global war prevention measures detailed in my book, Unchecked, They’ll Kill Us All. THE ENFORCEMENT NEEDS NO ARMED FORCES FOR EFFECT!
However war advocacy continue. They use more deadly weapons; swell global insecurity, refugee crises and civilian trauma.
Since national leaders who create wars are protected from the ensuing mayhem (their soldiers die instead), the clear limitations on war by the technologies and the new ideas in the book are conveniently ignored.
So, many more Edward Snowdens’ or Bradley Mannings' will manifest.

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