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Edward Snowden

30-year-old American Edward Snowden, a contract employee at the National Security Agency, is the whistleblower behind significant revelations that surfaced in June 2013 about the US government's top secret, extensive domestic surveillance programmes. Snowden flew to Hong Kong from Hawaii in May 2013, and supplied confidential US government documents to media outlets including the Guardian

NewsHong Kong

Chinese University issues new security alert to students over hacking

Chinese University issues security alert two weeks after it was revealed by Edward Snowden to be target of US spies

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 June, 2013, 4:17am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 August, 2013, 3:47pm

Staff and students at Chinese University were warned yesterday to secure their computers against hacking.

The caution came just over two weeks after claims by whistle-blower Edward Snowden that it had been among the targets of a US cyberspying programme.
An e-mail sent by the information security section to all 8students and staff said: "Protecting our data and information against hackers has recently become the talk of the town.''

Titled "Information security reminder - Keep your data out of hackers' reach!", the e-mail is understood to have landed in the inboxes of about 14,800 students and more than 7,500 staff yesterday afternoon.

It included more than a dozen specific "do's and don'ts" on how to block unauthorised access to personal data. "We strive to protect all data … processed and stored by the central information systems and data that flow through our campus network," the e-mail said.

"But there are also simple practices that you may adopt to keep your valuable information and data out of hackers' reach."

Snowden singled out Chinese University as one of several Hong Kong and mainland institutions targeted by US National Security Agency hackers.

He left Hong Kong last Sunday and it is believed he is still in the transit area at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, despite earlier reports that he would seek asylum in Ecuador.

The team responsible for yesterday's e-mail  oversees information security policy as well as co-ordinating and monitoring responses to security incidents.
The e-mail asked students and staff to protect computers by updating antivirus software, enabling a personal firewall and putting a password on all devices, as well as specific files like Excel or PDF documents.

It warned users not to store confidential data on smartphones and tablets and, if sending such information over the web, to encrypt the files first.

For extra security, it suggested using a digital certificate when sending a sensitive e-mail so that only the intended recipient would see it. Other "don'ts" covered basic IT security such as not opening suspicious e-mails or disclosing passwords.

Last night the centre said in a statement:  "Everyone in Hong Kong, not just the community in Chinese University, is more concerned about data security with the current Snowden incident. Everyone taking an extra small step will make hacking much more difficult."

A Hong Kong University spokeswoman said sending e-mail alerts about changing passwords or phishing attacks and suspicious e-mails was "regular practice", with the most recent one sent two weeks ago.

A Baptist University spokesman said no "abnormal cases" regarding cybersecurity had been identified recently and said regular online safety alerts were sent out to staff and students.

A spokesman for the Secretary for Security said the government had yet to receive a response from the US government to its 8request for clarification of Snowden's claim that Hong Kong had been the victim of cyberattacks.



This article is now closed to comments

the sun also rises
I just can't agree with the writer down below who said that being hacked was a glamour to the Chinese Univ.students.Instead,it is a horror or nightmare to them ! Their Internet Exchange has been hacked by the National Security Agency of America ever since 2009 without the knowledge of the staff/ technicians who take charge of the Exchange since they didn't discover anything missing ! Yet according to computer experts from other local universities,the expert hackers could hack into the Exchange and read /studied/recorded all the data /info.that they wanedt and left without leaving any trace or clues.The hackings are indeed a nightmare towards the students instead of glamour ! Right ?
How glamorous for the students. Now they're targets of international hacking! Whoa!
Yeah, right. More likely the Chinese University portal provides some way to jump the Great Firewall of China. The people on the other side of The Great Firewall of China, who are being paid to monitor the mainland's four or five gateways into the mainland, know this. (Ever wonder what happens during the delay?) Any other curiosity would most likely be related to conspiracies to steal the intellectual capital of U.S. companies. CU's professors aren't likely to be involved in much of that, so there would be little purpose for data mining AT CU as opposed to THROUGH it.
The CU people must know this, too, but, as ultra geeks, are enjoying the spotlight while they have it. Imagine, my latest mash note being read by U.S. spies! How thrilling!
Think about it, how likely is it that hackers in the U.S, -- few of whom will read Chinese but all of would have to be paid big Bucks -- would spend their time hacking into student computers?
The CU IT people need to use the brains that they were born with. As it is, they're sprinkling horse manure. The U.S. has no River Crabs. First, it would be illegal. Secondly, the President would be impeached if he tried it and got caught. And, finally, the U.S. government couldn't afford even 10 thousand of them, much less the PRC's 50+ thousand.
High cost and low language resources require very focused inquiries. Buck up.


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