Democratic Party suspects Beijing hand in cyber-attacks

November 30, 2015 09:52
Democratic Party chief executive Lam Cheuk-ting says they have been targeted repeatedly by China-backed computer hackers. Photo: Bloomberg

Hong Kong's Democratic Party suspects that Beijing-backed hackers had attacked the party website as well as the email accounts of some of its members. 

"We're the most coordinated opposition group on Chinese soil, (and) have a reasonable assumption that Beijing is behind the hacking," the party's chief executive Lam Cheuk-ting told Reuters.

According to the report, hackers have expanded their attacks to parking malware on popular file-sharing services including Dropbox and Google Drive to trap victims into downloading infected files and compromising sensitive information.

They also use more sophisticated tactics, honing in on specific targets through so-called 'white lists' that only infect certain visitors to compromised websites.

US-based Internet security firm FireEye was quoted as saying that the attacks via Dropbox were aimed at "precisely those whose networks Beijing would seek to monitor", and could provide China with advance warning of protests and information on pro-democracy leaders.

Hackers also recently used Dropbox to lure Chinese language journalists in Hong Kong into downloading infected files, the report said.

FireEye, which discovered the attack, said it was the first time it had seen this approach.

In the run-up to Hong Kong district council elections earlier this month, hackers used more basic techniques, breaking into at least 20 Gmail accounts at the Democratic Party, according to party officials and Google logs seen by Reuters.

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