Monday, May 13, 2019

China--hacking, black factories, etc.

hacking satellites
6-20-18    Symantec said the hackers appear to be interested in finding out how to infect computers running software that monitors and controls satellites.  Another target in the hacking group’s latest operation--which was launched in 2017 according to Symantec--was an organization involved in geospatial imaging and mapping. The hackers also targeted computers running Google Earth Server and Garmin imaging software, researchers said.  In addition they targeted three different telecommunications operators located in Southeast Asia.
  While the culprits still remain a mystery, their tools do not. Researchers found malware designed to steal data, log keystrokes and create backdoors.  Some had links to “underground Chinese hackers.”
  “This is likely espionage,” said Greg Clark, chief executive of Symantec.  “The Thrip group has been working since 2013 and their latest campaign uses standard operating system tools, so targeted organizations won’t notice their presence. They operate very quietly, blending in to networks, and are only discovered using artificial intelligence that can identify and flag their movements.  Alarmingly, the group [is] keenly interested in telecom, satellite operators and defense companies.  We stand ready to work with appropriate authorities to address this serious threat.”
Serikzhan Bilash speaks to a crowd of Kazakhs at a restaurant in Almaty, Kazakhstan, March 29, 2018.
Serikzhan Bilash speaks to a crowd of Kazakhs at a restaurant in Almaty, Kazakhstan, March 29, 2018  .Authorities in Kazakhstan have placed activist Serikzhan Bilash under house arrest for two months on charges of “inciting ethnic hatred” after he campaigned for the release of fellow ethnic Kazakhs from detention in China, prompting concerns the move was made in response to pressure from Beijing.
 Kazakh citizen born in neighboring China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), Bilash and his group Atajurt work to release ethnic Kazakhs from political “re-education camps,” where authorities in the XUAR are believed to have detained more than one million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities accused of harboring “strong religious views” and “politically incorrect” ideas since April 2017.  Reuters news agency cited Atajurt in a report, saying security forces had broken into Bilash’s hotel room in Almaty early on Sunday, detained him and quickly flown him to the Kazakh capital Astana.
black factories
12-16-18    These people who are detained provide free or low-cost forced labor for these factories,” said Mehmet Volkan Kasikci, a researcher in Turkey who has collected accounts of inmates in the factories by interviewing relatives who have left China. “Stories continue to come to me,” he said….
  Serikzhan Bilash, a founder of Atajurt Kazakh Human Rights, an organization in Kazakhstan that helps ethnic Kazakhs who have left neighboring Xinjiang, said he had interviewed relatives of 10 inmates who had told their families that they were made to work in factories after undergoing indoctrination in the camps.  They mostly made clothes, and they called their employers “black factories,” because of the low wages and tough conditions, he said.
  Mr. Kasikci also described several cases based on interviews with family members : Sofiya Tolybaiqyzy, who was sent from a camp to work in a carpet factory.  Abil Amantai, 37, who was put in a camp a year ago and told relatives he was working in a textile factory for $95 a month.  Nural Razila, 25, who had studied oil drilling but after a year in a camp was sent to a new textile factory nearby.  “It’s not as though they have a choice of whether they get to work in a factory, or what factory they are assigned to,” said Darren Byler, a lecturer at the University of Washington who studies Xinjiang and visited the region in April….
  Kashgar, an ancient, predominantly Uighur area of southern Xinjiang that is a focus of the program, reported that in 2018 alone it aimed to send 100,000 inmates who had been through the “vocational training centers” to work in factories, according to a plan issued in August….
  Images of one camp featured in the state television broadcast, for example, show 10 to 12 large buildings with a single-story, one-room design commonly used for factories, said Nathan Ruser, a researcher at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.  The buildings are surrounded by fencing and security towers, indicating that they are heavily guarded like the rest of the camp….
  Mr. Byler said a relative of a Uighur friend was sent to an indoctrination camp in March and formally released this fall.  But he was then told he had to work for up to three years in a clothing factory.
  4-23-19  A court in China’s Qinghai province has sentenced nine Tibetan villagers to long prison terms for creating an informal organization urging authorities to return community land taken by authorities but then left unused since 2011, a Tibetan rights group said this week.
  The nine, all residents of Horgyal village in Qinghai’s Rebgong (in Chinese, Tongren) county, were handed terms of from three to seven years by the County People’s Court for running an “illegal organization,” the Dharamsala, India-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said on April 19.

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