• Mon
  • Dec 22, 2014
  • Updated: 12:46am
Edward Snowden
NewsChina

EXCLUSIVE: Snowden reveals more US cyberspying details

Text messages mined, while servers at Tsinghua University attacked

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 June, 2013, 8:52pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 June, 2013, 7:18pm
 

US spies are hacking into Chinese mobile phone companies to steal text messages and attacking the servers at Tsinghua University, Edward Snowden has told the Sunday Morning Post.

The latest explosive revelations about US National Security Agency cybersnooping in Hong Kong and on the mainland are based on further scrutiny and clarification of information Snowden provided on June 12.

The former technician for the US Central Intelligence Agency and contractor for the National Security Agency provided documents revealing attacks on computers over a four-year period.

The documents listed operational details of specific attacks on computers, including internet protocol (IP) addresses, dates of attacks and whether a computer was still being monitored remotely.

The Sunday Morning Post can now reveal Snowden's claims that the NSA is:

Pacnet, which recently signed major deals with the mainland's top mobile phone companies, owns more than 46,000 kilometres of fibre-optic cables. The cables connect its regional data centres across the Asia-Pacific region, including Hong Kong, the mainland, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan. It also has offices in the US.

Snowden claims that data from Chinese mobile phone companies has been compromised, with millions of private text messages mined by the NSA.

Cybersecurity experts on the mainland have long feared mobile phone companies had fallen victim to back-door attacks because they were forced to go overseas to buy core technology for their networks. In recent years, those security concerns became more vocal and as a result domestic network equipment suppliers such as Huawai, Datang and ZTE started to close the technology gap, enabling the phone companies to reduce their reliance on foreign suppliers.

As for the attacks at Tsinghua University, the leaked information points to the NSA hacking into the institute's servers as recently as January.

Tsinghua is widely regarded as China's top education and research institute and carries out extensive work on next-generation web technologies.

It is home to one of the mainland's six major network backbones, the China Education and Research Network.

China's reaction to the new revelations will play a large part in the final outcome of the Snowden episode but so far Beijing is playing its cards close to its chest.

Mainland experts said last night they believed Beijing would neither go out of its way to help the US government or give protection to Snowden.

"In the bigger scale of things, Sino-US relations outweigh any information Snowden may have. It is also impractical for China to hope Snowden will co-operate with us. If he wanted to do that, he'd have flown to Beijing," said an expert in Shanghai who requested anonymity.

"On the other hand, the Chinese government will not do anything over-and-above to help the US speed up the extradition process. It will let Hong Kong handle the case according to the protocols and laws," the expert said.

Shi Yinhong, an international relations professor at Renmin University, said eventually the best solution for Beijing is to let Snowden leave Hong Kong. "It doesn't matter where he goes, as long as he is not in Hong Kong."

Shi said Beijing would react strongly if Washington tried to strong-arm Hong Kong into cooperating. He said China would insist that everything must be done according to the city's laws.

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This article is now closed to comments

phyongpp1
Happy birthday Ed. This is going to be the happiest birthday in your life for making the right decision against all the virtually insurmountable odds stacked against you. To us Hong Kongers, you are a real and rare hero who would be duly rewarded in the annals of history. You have risked your life and sacrificed all its worldly pleasures to report against the immoral, even if legal, snooping of your government. I am sure that there must be hundreds of your colleagues in PRISM who have also searched their souls and are also troubled by the same ethical and moral conscience to attempt to do what you have set the lead. But most of them do not have your kind of bravery or resolve to take the leap.
May God bless you with a long, enjoyable and memorable stay in Hong Kong. We in Hong Kong hope to welcome more of your colleagues to take the same plunge and join you in blowing the whistle against the heinous activities of the USA government.
Carparklee
Happy Birthday, Mr. Snowden! Hong Kong is proud to have you celebrating your 30th birthday here. You did not celebrate this alone. All the people being thankful to your brave revelation did the celebration with you together. Happy Birthday!
hard times !
yeah, I nearly forgot to wish you a happy and special birthday here in Hong Kong with us ! Congratulatios to you for being one of us now ---staying here as long as you can until your visa expires or a third country is willing to accept you and you feel safe to go or just fight back once an extradition request comes from the Obama administration to the territory.The court hearings might take years and you will have to stay here with us---people who embrace freedom of expression and value their privacy plus human rights and have no favour towards hypocrisy or double standards as displayed by your mother country's current ruling regime. Thank you for risking your life in disclosing the part of cyberspying done by the NSA which concerns our Hong Kong. Thanks a lot ! have a nice sleep !
Pearl of Orient
Sincerely hope Mr Snowden could successfully fight back US' extradition in HK or be safely landed in a 3rd country, no matter what, you're not alone, we 7 million Hongkongers shall continue praying for you, hope you're safe and happy, even better able to stay in HK with us forever....Happy Birthday!
hard times !
not under our elite cops' protection but instead in a safe place--and a private 'safe lodge' heavily guarded by bodyguards with kung fu or firearms ? (not allowed in the territory !) I wonder if so, why the CIAs and NSA agents sent here after the revelations could not catch /kidnap him forcefully and secretly have him sent back to the States for so-called a fair trial on his charges of ' espionage,revealing national secrets and stealing government properties'--altogether might land him in jail for hundreds of years or at least decades in jail,not to say the torture awaiting him for being a traitor who committed the fatal crime----treason for being a Chinese spy ! Wish this leaker courageous and daring enough to reveal more cyberspying secrets to the public of the world and we Hongkongers who mostly support him firmly and willingly.amen.
hard times !
of course yesterday was the happiest birthday in this leaker-hero's whole life which has been spent meaningfully and constuctively by disclosing the large-scale cyber-spying activiites committed by both the US and the UK (which are twins) in recent years against all the netizens in the world.We Hongkongers owe Mr.Snowden a lot for his revelations indeed ! Thank you,Edward, your life has been well spent and you won't regret even in your old age when you look back ! Our protection of you during your latter part of stay here is our responsiblity being world citizens.As our Secretary for security said, everyone in the territory will be protected and if they need the cops help,they can apply for it. You don't have to thank us at all.Instead,we thank you heartily once again ! So long !
SanFranciscan
My fellow Americans -
Ever heard of the notorious Big Brothers?
The Big Five of CIA,NSA,DIA,NGA,NRO in coordination with satellite stations throughout the territories of five Anglo nations, known as Five Eyes, and their worldwide hacking has been a constant warning since last year in China Daily. [Google 'Sicko Uncle Sam' at the CD Forum for more].
jaminhard
6,999,999!
tranquilben
Happy Birthday? he's doing all this for his own country. don't wish him a Happy Birthday you naive idiot. aniwork, leave HK, you're an embarrassment.
vivianyee
Mr. Snowden is a remarkable individual who consciously spoke out and revealed the fascist nature of NSA. It's amazing that US has been complaining for years about China hacking their systems when the NSA was doing the dirty deeds all along, worst deeds in my opinion as it targeted average Chinese stealing billions of SMS and much more. US certainly did not limit itself to military or corporate targets that's for sure. Now it's entirely possible that US will try to take out Mr. Snowden for hurting its "image" around the world. Whatever that means.
Zero respect for the yanks from now on.

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