• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 6:13am
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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hard times !
it is learnt that the FBI is investigating the whistle-blower,Mr.Edward Snowden who once said that the U.S. is bullying Hong Kong to have him extradicted to his home country---the largest hacker base in the world ---which monitors the internet and mobile phone communications all over the world (including Hong Kong's 4 million netizens).We Hongkongers should lend this anti-cyber-spying hero a hand by letting him stay here safely until a third country (e.g.Russia or Iceland) is willing to take him.Right ? For our own sake and justice plus freedom of speech,aiding Snowden is a must indeed.What writer Tso Chit ****ted on his radio programmme last night should be a shame to him !!
takce
Snowden should have his head examined! The people of Hong Kong cannot even decide our own fate, let alone his fate? He knew what he got himself into when he joined Booz. I'm amazed by some people and groups that are blowing his horn here, he should be extradited and be faced with a court of his own peers by a jury.
Trampoline.c.c@gmail.com
Hong Knog Gov should habour Snowden as the US Gov did i.e. the blind activist Chan Kwong Shing. by doing so, it would advocate more and more people who are working for Gov on some dark projects come to light and reveal projects being secretly exercising. Shocking but surprising, this revelation could give a reminder to persons in authority , don`t exploit citizens` privacy rights or bring to newspaper front pages.
fearonjones
Quite right. Legally of course, wrong, but ethically no doubt, right. When law and morality collide choices have to be made, and morality should rule. Sometimes the law can be 'an ****' and must change, or be changed, as morality also changes over time in some respects. It cannot be right to mass harvest information about individuals without their consent or knowledge. This is a n important issue at any time, but especially so given the power of digital technology. Snowden needs our protection.
carmeledwin
Total agreement. Since they took in Chen Guangcheng, whey should China, of which Hong Kong is a part of, hand over Snowden?
The United States Government is always taking the moral high ground criticizing others for breach of human rights, and yet they more often than not, violate human rights themselves. Locking away people without even a show trial for years, taping into phone lines and websites. Kidnapping people (the CIA were found guilty by law courts for kidnapping).
Simon Berry
It is not Edward Snowden who should be under investigation but the persons who ordered and carried out the illegal hacking and violations of personal privacy and civil liberties.
Here's an idea - create an annual award called the "Snowden" to be awarded to the individual who has done the most to defend and promote civil liberties.
hard times !
of course,our 'rule of law' will protect mr.Snowden from being extradicted back to the States to be tried and jailed plus tortured (most possible as his predecessors).Mr.Snowden has firm confedience in Hongkongers and our 'rule of law' plus our freedom of speech.Besides,Hong Kong is an international city which communciations with the rest of the world is far and wide and our air traffic can reach most parts of the world as well.Mr.Snowden can be assured that his safety is guaranteed here(by living in our safety lodge--highly protected from being kidnapped or killed) before being tried by our independent courts for his extradiction request from the U.S.government if there is any.Yet the Obama administration might try to persuade the Beijing authorities to hand him over for the relationship of both countries.Mr.Snowden might become a gift to the U.S.though it sounds quite impossible since his revelations is beneficial to both Hong Kong and Mainland China as well.He is our friend instead of being our foe ! 'With us and not against us !'
carmeledwin
The reason why we have a jury system is to let a person's peers decide. Even if a person has broken the law, however, if his/her peers deemed the case to be one where it be morally wrong to convict, they can and in theory enter a not guilty judgement. In this case, in my humble opinion, although Snowden did wrong to have stolen the information, it is immoral to send him back.
KwunTongBypass
Ok, Ok, Ok. Let's beat up really hard on the Americans. Agree. By the way, China's spies - ahh Internet security CENSORS does not need to 'hack' into Hong Kong computers, they are already connected to that building with the 50,000 spies - ahhh CENSORS - in Beijing by default!
tracy.r.sandercock
****www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dy4FUrpaSOE This was on youtube 4 years ago, every knew then we were being spied on, Edward snowden disclose NOTHING new and we and the Government all know this is fact, as many stories like this can be found. Is this woman going to be criminally charged as well? Give me a break! Maybe Edward knows other dirty little secrets our Government is afraid of being "leaked"... PS to those from other countries that dislike/hate America/Americans... Most of US do NOT agree with our Government policing the world, drone strikes, and the many other ways Our Government exults itself above other nations. We love the people of other nations and our leaders are ripping us all apart!
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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