As I’ve reported before, New Zealand is in dire risk of being isolated as the only of the Five Eyes partners to leave its critical infrastructure open to the Chinese Communist Party, by allowing Chinese telco Huawei to participate in building its 5G network.

This is no small matter. Besides the danger of being booted out of a venerable Anglosphere alliance, there’s also the risk inherent in letting China insinuate its tentacles into such critical infrastructure. The particular issue with 5G is not that it’s inherently less safe than other mobile technology, but that it will be more closely integrated with the “internet of things”. That is, the internet-enabled physical technologies that cover everything from Alexa controlling your home to health infrastructure, transport networks and energy management.

The last shows just how much damage bad actors can wreak in the internet of things.

Chinese state hackers infected India’s power grid with cyber malware last year over a border dispute in the Himalayas, a report has claimed.

China is accused of inserting illicit programmes into control systems managing India’s power supply, as well as a high-voltage transmission substation and a coal-fired power plant.

The disclosure lends weight to the idea that a massive power cut in Mumbai last year was a deliberate Chinese attack to warn India not to press its border claim, The New York Times reported.

China and India have been teetering on the edge of military confrontation on their disputed border across the Himalayas. India is also part of the informal “Quad” alliance that clearly aims to ring-fence China’s increasing aggression.

But modern warfare is just as dependent on hackers at keyboards as boots on the ground. China is developing a sinister reputation for cyber-warfare. Australia was targeted for massive hacking attempts by a “state actor” last year.

Now, it’s India’s turn – and China is showing just how much havoc it can wreak.

The October 12 blackout in India’s financial capital shut down the stock market and trains, and forced hospitals to run emergency backup generators[…]

Recorded Future, a firm that monitors state cyber activity, found a sharp increase in attacks by Chinese-backed groups from the start of last year, rising further from the middle of the year[…]

Recorded Future found “a concerted campaign against India’s critical infrastructure”, with 10 power sector organisations targeted, including centres for balancing supply and demand in the power grid.

Stuart Solomon, Recorded Future’s chief operating officer, said the Chinese state-sponsored group, which the firm named Red Echo, “has been seen to systematically utilise advanced cyberintrusion techniques to quietly gain a foothold in nearly a dozen critical nodes across the Indian power generation and transmission infrastructure”.

Most of the malware was not activated. But just by signalling it has the capability, China could potentially wield significant deterrence against India, experts said. The report added that there was a “pattern of Indian organisations being targeted through behavioural profiling of network traffic to adversary infrastructure”.

The Telegraph
The BFD. Photoshop by Lushington Brady.

So if the power goes out in Auckland for no apparent reason, or the Mobile Variable Message Sign on the side of the Southern Motorway orders you to “Obey Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era!”, you’ll know who to blame.

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China’s India Cyber-Attack a Stark Warning for NZ

Lushington D. Brady

Punk rock philosopher. Liberalist contrarian. Grumpy old bastard. I grew up in a generational-Labor-voting family. I kept the faith long after the political left had abandoned it. In last decade or...