It is a cliché to attack Chinese companies on the pretext of “cyber spies” and other pretexts. According to a British Guardian report on the 15th, a U.S. cybersecurity expert recently claimed that China took advantage of loopholes in the global telecommunications network to lock, track and intercept the information of American mobile phone users through China Unicom and telecom operators in the Caribbean.
China Unicom has expressed “strongly refute” this. Xiang Ligang, a communication expert, told the Global Times on the 16th that the accusation was “what to blame if you want to commit, why not worry about it” and is a common political manipulation method of the United States.
Gary Miller, a former head of mobile cybersecurity in Washington state and founder of the cybersecurity research firm Exigent Media, claimed that he spent years analyzing mobile threat intelligence reports and observing signaling traffic between U.S. and foreign mobile operators and found that “China It seems that the network in the Caribbean region has been used for surveillance activities.” China uses state-owned mobile phone operator China Unicom to send signalling messages to Americans, often when these Americans travel abroad, “it is very likely a state-sponsored espionage campaign.”
According to Miller, signaling information is an instruction sent by telecommunications operators through the global network without the knowledge of mobile phone users.
They allow operators to obtain user positioning, connect other mobile phone users and assess roaming costs. The report also said that these signaling instructions can be used for illegal purposes, such as tracking, monitoring and intercepting communications.
Miller claims he found tens of thousands of U.S. users were attacked by China between 2018 and 2020. Among them, China carried out the most surveillance attacks on American mobile phone users through 3G and 4G networks in 2018, and most of these attacks were related to China Unicom.
Some of the users locked by China Unicom are also locked by the Caribbean Barbados Telecom Company “FLOW” and “Bahamas Telecom (BTC). Miller tested that Chinese companies may directly or indirectly rent network addresses from telecommunicators in the Caribbean, and use them to send signaling messages without the knowledge of these telecommunicators.
“Once the number reaches more than one, these attacks qualify for mass surveillance, which is primarily for intelligence gathering and not necessarily targeted at high-profile targets,” Miller said. He also said that although American telecommunicators have intercepted a lot of illegal signaling information, the protection of mobile phone users in the United States is still insufficient, and users often do not know how unsafe their calls are.
In response to the allegations, The Guardian quoted China Unicom’s statement as saying, “strongly refutes the allegations that China Unicom uses international telecommunications networks to carry out active surveillance attacks on mobile phone users in the United States.” A spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in the United States said, “The Chinese government’s position on cybersecurity is consistent and clear. We firmly oppose and combat any form of cyberattack. China is a firm defender of cyber security.
Xiang Ligang, a Chinese communication expert, said in an interview with the Global Times on the 16th that for various reasons, China Unicom and other Chinese telecom operators do not have many local users in the United States, most of which are Chinese users roaming to the United States for use. Most Americans use the services of local AT&T telecommunications companies in the United States.
China Unicom cannot do the above-mentioned report to “send signaling messages to tens of thousands of Americans”. Xiang Ligang also added that outside China, China Unicom also needs to borrow the networks of other companies to provide roaming services for users. Some signal communication is necessary. “Just as AT&T users go abroad in the United States, AT&T will also have user information exchange with local cooperative operators. Is this also a monitoring? “?
In the name of protecting the so-called “national security”, the United States has frequently taken action against China’s three major telecom operators. This month, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) officially launched a review of China Telecom Americas.
The FCC previously said that China Telecom, the parent company of China Telecom Americas, is actually controlled by the Chinese government, which poses a threat to the national security of the United States.
In April this year, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, the State Department and the Department of Commerce asked the FCC to revoke China Telecom’s marketing license in the United States on the grounds of “national security”.
A spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said on many occasions before that the Chinese government has always required Chinese enterprises to carry out foreign economic cooperation on the basis of compliance with the law and market principles, and also required them to abide by local laws and regulations.
Urge the United States to abide by the principles of market economy, stop the wrong practice of generalizing national security and politicizing economic issues, stop unreasonable repression of Chinese enterprises, and provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for Chinese enterprises to invest and operate in the United States.