Displaying items by tag: telecoms

The profiles and personal messages of 364 million users of Chinese social media sites were leaked online, exposing private records such as photos and identity card numbers which were being gathered by the Chinese government through a surveillance program.

Cybersecurity researcher for the NGO GDI Foundation, Victor Gevers, revealed in a series of tweets that the Chinese government was using a social media surveillance program which was “retrieving messages per province from 6 social platforms and extracts named, ID numbers, ID photos, GPS locations, network information, and all the conversations an file transfers get imported into a large online database.”

He continued “Around 364 million online profiles and their chats & file transfers get processed daily. Then these accounts get linked to a real ID/person. The date is then distributed over police stations per city/province to separate operators’ databases with the same surveillance network name.”

Gevers went on to say that the program used to retrieve all the private and sensitive information looked “like a jerry-rigged PRISM clone of the NSA.” NSA was the US government’s surveillance system that Edward Snowden revealed back in 2013.

In a direct message on Twitter, Gevers voiced some of his concerns regarding the situation.

“These surveillance systems are dangerous when they are open and fully accessible to anyone, which increases the risk of remote data manipulation. We have seen databases get ‘ransomed’ in the past.”

A great deal of the leaked data included information about cybercafés, which Gevers pointed out in a screenshot and said that those cafes may have been used as a potential tool to gather data on users.

QQ and WeChat were among the six Chinese messaging services which are both operated by Tencent.

In the past, WeChat denied their monitoring of user chat logs for government surveillance, however according to the Chinese legal system, all internet companies operating in China are expected to collect and store user data locally in case of an official inspection.

Security researcher Jane Manchun Wong said: “If sensitive information was exchanged in some of those conversations, it could have been sold to black markets, the same way how stolen credit card info from compromised databases work.”

She continued, “Except this one, it’s effortless to hackers. They could essentially just walk in and everything seems to be in plain text and accessible without any login information.”

The database was allegedly secured after Gevers exposed the issue.

There have been a few major leaks in China over the past few years.

Just last month Gevers reported a case regarding a Chinese tech company, SenseNets, which stored the data of 2.6 million people in the region of Xinjiang which is of Muslim majority and is under heavy police surveillance.  The data included the ID numbers and addresses of the residents.

Published in Government

Huawei executive granted bail

Written on Wednesday, 12 December 2018 10:52

Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei, has been released on Can$10 million bail by a Canadian court. The Chinese telecom executive faces a US extradition bid on charges related to alleged violations of Iran sanctions.

She was ordered to surrender her passport and will be subjected to electronic monitoring whilst she stays in Vancouver. Her lawyer said she was not deemed a flight risk, as she did not want to ‘embarrass China.’

The daughter of Huawei’s founder, Meng is accused of lying to bankers about the use of a covert subsidiary to sell to Iran in breach of sanctions. She faces more than 30 years in prison if she is convicted.

The extradition process, scheduled to start on February 6, could take months or even years.

Her arrest has shaken China's relations with Canada and the United States, with concerns that it could derail a US-China trade war truce. President Donald Trump has said he "would certainly intervene" in the case if it can help strike a deal with China.

Meanwhile, the US State Department called on China to "end all forms of arbitrary detentions" after Michael Kovrig - a North East Asia senior adviser, and former Canadian diplomat - was detained in Beijing. The international crisis group (ICG) said in a statement that it has received no information about Kovrig since his detention and is concerned about his health and safety.

Former Canadian ambassador to Beijing, Guy Saint-Jacques, said Kovrig's detention was likely linked to Meng's case.

"There is no coincidence in China," Saint-Jacques told AFP. "In this case it is clear the Chinese government wants to put maximum pressure on the Canadian government."

Published in Telecom Vendors

Chinese telecom provider loses major European contract

Written on Monday, 17 December 2018 06:28

The Chinese telecom company will cease to maintain mobile operator O2’s network in Germany – a subsidiary of Spain’s Telefonica – as of next year.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Chinese media outlets have launched a scathing attack on the United States for its role in the arrest and subsequent detainment of Huawei’s CFO in Vancouver earlier this week.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Huawei caves in to UK 5G demands

Written on Monday, 10 December 2018 07:18

Huawei has pledged $2bn to overhaul its equipment and software in a bid to ease growing security fears.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Swedish university hosts 5G launch

Written on Thursday, 06 December 2018 09:34

The first 5G network was jointly switched on by Telia and Ericsson at KTH the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm this week, ahead of plans to launch fifth generation wireless across Sweden in 2020.

Published in Telecom Operators

5G hotspot expected for 2019

Written on Thursday, 06 December 2018 09:11

Verizon will launch its first 5G hotspot device to consumers in 2019, it has been announced. The American telecommunications company collaborated with Inseego and features Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 chip and Snapdragon X50 5G modem.

Published in Telecom Operators

Cell carriers race to prepare UK for 5G launch

Written on Wednesday, 28 November 2018 12:12

Europe’s leading cell carrier, EE, is bringing 5g service to sixteen cities in 2019. London, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast are expected to be the first to receive the mobile service in its initial rollout phase. They are to focus on high volume centers such as Heathrow airport, Edinburgh Waverly train station, Hyde Park and the Welsh Assembly.

Manchester and Birmingham are scheduled to follow later in the year.

There are also plans to bring 5G to an additional 10 cities, including Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool, Leeds, Hull, Sheffield, Nottingham, Leicester, Coventry and Bristol throughout 2019. EE intends to upgrade 1,500 sites that are responsible for 25% of the cell traffic. 

As part of its 5G plans, EE is launching 5G home broadband service, which looks set to bring high speeds to UK households via a specialized router and external antenna.

Other major European carriers such as Three UK and Vodafone are to also join them in launching mobile 5G.

Currently, none of the flagship phone models support 5G. However, cell manufacturers, such as Apple and Samsung, are working together to get ready for the transition.

Published in Telecom Operators

Saudi Arabian authorities have issued a cybersecurity warning to organizations in the kingdom appealing to them to be extremely vigilant following the reemergence of a virus that caused catastrophic chaos in 2012.

The Shamoon virus caused havoc in 2012 – it crippled thousands of computers by wiping their disks, the labor ministry has confirmed that it has been attacked and a chemicals firm also reported a network disruption.

The virus has been named the Shamoon 2 – and the Saudi Arabian telecoms authority issued a warning to all organizations in the region outlining the devastating effects the virus can incur. Shamoon disrupts computers by overwriting the master book record, making it impossible for them to start up. In 2012, the Shamoon attack on Saudi Aramco was described by U.S. Defense Secretary at the time Leon Panetta, as one of the most destructive cyber-attacks on a private business.

A divisive image of a U.S. flag being burned was used to overwrite the drives of victims in 2012 – and it has been reported that in the recent attacks, the heartbreaking image of tragic Syrian refugee toddler Alan Kurdi (3) was also used according to U.S. security researchers.

It’s suspected that those responsible for the cyber-attacks in 2012 where working on behalf of the Iranian government, and vice-president of cyber-security firm CrowdStrike thinks the Iranian government are again behind the attacks – and added that it’s likely the current attacks will continue.

Al Ekhbariya TV disclosed on their Twitter account that several organizations had been targeted in the recent cyber-attacks, the state-controlled news agency said the attack on the labor ministry did not impact its data.

Jubail-based Sadara Chemical Co, a joint venture firm owned by Saudi Aramco and U.S. firm Dow Chemical, said it had experienced a network disruption on Monday morning and was working to resolve the issue.

The company made the disclosure on its official Twitter account after the warning by Al Ekhbariya TV, which cited the telecoms authority. It did not say whether the disruption was due to a cyber-attack, but said as a precautionary measure it had stopped all services related to the network.

Published in Government

A Japanese Telecoms company has agreed to invest a staggering $50 billion in business and job creation in the United States - following a deal which was brokered by incoming US president, Donal Trump. The president elect triumphantly told the assembled media in the lobby of Trump Tower, New York, that SoftBank had agreed to invest $50 billion in the United States which would create 50,000 jobs over the next four years.

Since that deal was officially announced by SoftBank, shares have soared in the Tokyo-listed telecoms firm. SoftBank jumped more than 5% after the opening bell, which came just hours after the tycoon announced the deal while he wrapped his arm around flamboyant billionaire founder of SoftBank, Masayoshi Son.

During his election campaign Trump passionately declared that he would bring jobs back to the US and insisted he would also attract investment from overseas investors. He has already delivered a huge statement of intent before he even sets foot in The White House with the announcement of this deal.

A smiling Trump told reporters: “SoftBank from Japan have just agreed to invest $50 billion in the United States which in turn will create 50,000 jobs.” It was also disclosed that SoftBank brandished a document which featured the names of his firm and that of Foxconn, the Taiwanese technology colossus that read; ‘Committed to invest $50bn + $7bn in US which will create 50k + 50k new jobs in the US over the next four years.’

The soon-to-be US president offered no specific details, and a Tokyo-based spokesman for SoftBank declined to comment. Foxconn, which assembles Apple's iPhone and supplies parts, also refused to comment. Son told reporters the money will come from a $100 billion investment fund he is setting up with Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund and other partners, a move announced in mid-October, Japan's Jiji Press reported. "Investors are welcoming the announcement," Shuji Hosoi, a senior strategist at Daiwa Securities revealed. He added that it was something unexpected, and the size of the pledge is big. Son's remarks were generally in line with what Trump has been saying (about boosting the economy).

SoftBank already has investments in the United States: in 2013 it paid $22 billion for 80 percent of Sprint. Son initially set his sights on a merger with T-Mobile, but that plan was abandoned owing to likely opposition from US regulators.

Published in Government
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