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Chinese Hackers Allegedly Snooped on EU Diplomatic Cables for Years

Hackers have been listening to European Union diplomatic communications for the past three years, intercepting international negotiations and messages with top leaders in the US, Russia, China, Israel, Saudi Arabia and other nations, the New York Times reported after analyzing troves of data from a US company investigating the matter.  Secret and confidential conversations were not breached, EU officials say.

The diplomatic cables reveal international concerns over trade deals, the Trump administration, Iran’s possible intention to bring the nuclear program back to life and anxiety over Russia and China.

According to the report, the hackers allegedly also infiltrated the communication networks of the United Nations, the A.F.L.-C.I.O., and ministries of foreign affairs and finance around the world, with specific interest in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which did not include China. After careful analysis, it is believed China’s People’s Liberation Army may be responsible for the intrusion, according to the report.

After speaking with an expert in the field, the New York Times writes there are strong similarities in the methods used by the Chinese military and intruders in this story.

“After over a decade of experience countering Chinese cyber-operations… there is no doubt this campaign is connected to the Chinese government,” the person is cited as saying.

One of the cables describes White House damage control efforts following a news conference with Trump and Putin where Trump went off-script, while another cable talks about tensions between the US and EU and the struggle “with the negative attitude to the E.U. in the beginning, which had created a lot of insecurity.”

A detailed selection can be read here.

About the author


From a young age, Luana knew she wanted to become a writer. After having addressed topics such as NFC, startups, and tech innovation, she has now shifted focus to internet security, with a keen interest in smart homes and IoT threats. Luana is a supporter of women in tech and has a passion for entrepreneurship, technology, and startup culture.

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  • Sure it was the Chinese? I mean, it's not that there wouldn't be another nation with pretty impressive "snooping" capabilities nearby which would have both an interest in finding out what the EU is discussing internally (in particular in the last three years) and an interest in reminding the European decision makers that they could do more if necessary. Oh yes, and that this particular nation has a focus of intelligence work in Cyprus and probably has lots of personal information about the target of the spear-phishing operation that gave them access also fits into that picture…