Paranoid? Russian newspaper accuses China of spying through kettles

Microchips capable of collecting computer and phone data were hidden in Chinese home appliances, the newspaper reports.

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 October, 2013, 1:28pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 31 October, 2013, 2:13pm

The machine boiling the water for that cup of Russian Caravan tea might just be a Trojan horse, according to Russian authorities who claim that kettles imported from China are bugged, using unsecured wifi networks to send data to Chinese servers.

The claim, reported by St Petersburg-based news agency Rosbalt, comes amid a worldwide flurry of finger-pointing about government-sponsored surveillance.

According to the report, which was translated by UK based tech publication The Register, local authorities last week examined kettles and irons and found chips in 20 to 30 appliances imported from China.

Earlier this week reports emerged that Russia has gifted treat bags stuffed with spyware to the world’s leaders at the September Group of 20 summit. Phone chargers and USB thumb drives were revealed to be “suitable for undercover detection of computer data and mobile phones", according to an investigation ordered by Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council, and reported in Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera.

Earlier in October, an English language editorial in Chinese newspaper The Global Times condemned conspiracy theories that NSA-leaker Edward Snowden is a spy for the Chinese government.

“Some politicians should abandon their habitual Cold War thinking, learn to view China from a cooperative perspective and acknowledge the status changes of China and the US in a comprehensive and objective manner,” read the article, written by a senior editor at government mouthpiece newspaper The People’s Daily.

According to the tech-savvy The Register, the Chinese kettle bugs are feasible, but the claim they were detected due to overweight freight readings is highly unlikely.

The customs broker mentioned in the original Russian story did not answer several telephone calls made by the Post.