Investigation On Alleged Chinese Espionage On Israel Through Gifts | #cybersecurity | #cyberattack

Two mugs gifted to an Israeli minister and other government officials by Chinese embassy were claimed to be “suspicious material” and Israeli officials initiated an investigation to bring out the truth. 

The mugs were claimed to be bugged by the Chinese embassy but Israel’s intelligence service declared the mugs innocent. This was not the first incident when countries blame China for alleged espionage. Several incidents were reported earlier and refuted by china considered baseless allegations.

Why was suspicion raised?

A gift from the Chinese embassy to Israel was flagged as suspicious by Shin Bet, Israel’s internal intelligence agency. The mugs were gifted during the Jewish festival of Passover. It was claimed that a suspicious device is in the mugs and was sent to the Science and Technology Ministry and the Transportation Ministry.

The mug was scanned before reaching the innovation, Science and Technology minister Orit Farkash Hacohen and transportation Minister Merav Michaeli. Several Hebrew media outlets reported about the gift being a possible spying device. It was also said that it was a listening device and thus sent for further investigation. 

Shin Bet said in a statement that reports about suspicious components in thermal cups are false and maintain a vacuum in the sides of the mug and maintain the temperature over time.

Growing relations between China and Israel

China and IsraelReuters

The relations between China and Israel have grown over time, especially amid a US-China trade war. China has shown interest in Israeli innovations including medical tech, robotics, food tech and artificial intelligence.

Israel’s National Bureau of Statistics published data in 2021, suggesting that China became Israel’s largest source of imports, surpassing the US. The two set up a joint committee on innovation cooperation, which agreed to a 3-year plan to regulate cooperation and government to government dialogue between the countries.

A similar incident happened in 2018

In 2018, a similar incident was also reported, a French newspaper Le Monde claimed that China had bugged the African Union’s headquarters was built in Beijing for more than five years, gaining access to confidential information.

According to those reports, the data was being transferred to Chinese since 2012 and it was only spotted in 2017 due to the spike in activity between midnight and 2 AM, despite the building being empty.

spyingFile Photo

A probe on the matter showed that the confidential data was being copied on to servers in Shanghai. However, China denied and rejected the reports considering them “absurd” and “preposterous.” 

Allegations of spying on Lithuania

The telecom giant of china, Huawei raised concerns about the possible tools of China’s international spy capabilities.

China was condemned by the Lithuanian intelligence and security services for an “increasingly aggressive” spy campaign. The campaign was said to be an “attempt to recruit Lithuanian citizens”.

China refuted the claims by saying that does not pose any security threat to Lithuania.

Cyber attack on India

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According to the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) report 2018, the maximum number of cyber attacks on official Indian websites are from China accounting for 35 percent, followed by the US (17percent). 

Last year, Maharashtra’s electricity grid was reportedly cyber attacked and Delhi faced an intensified cyber security threat to physical infrastructure. 

According to a report published in The Print, a Chinese state-sponsored hacking group called Red Echo plans and executes cyber, space, and electronic warfare operations targeting the Maharashtra state electricity grid through the cyber domain. 

Further, Recorded Future Inc., a threat intelligence firm said that India’s power sector has been under a cyber attack by “suspected state-sponsored Chinese hackers”.

For more on news and current affairs from around the world please visit Indiatimes News.

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