This week, a set of reports emerged alleging that Chinese state-backed actors perpetrated cyberattacks against foreign governments. In response, Chinese state media sprang into action by relaying official denials of responsibility, diverting attention to Western misconduct, and praising the benefits of China’s relationship with the host country. A short analysis of local media coverage of the events highlights the traction of Chinese state-media narratives.
On Wednesday, Reuters released an investigation concluding that Chinese actors hacked into several ministries and institutions of the Kenyan government, including its presidential office and National Intelligence Service (NIS). Aaron Ross, James Pearson, and Christopher Bing reported on the potential motivations and source of the hack:
Reuters could not determine what information was taken during the hacks or conclusively establish the motive for the attacks. But the defence contractor’s report said the NIS breach was possibly aimed at gleaning information on how Kenya planned to manage its debt payments.
[…] The defence contractor, pointing to identical tools and techniques used in other hacking campaigns, identified a Chinese state-linked hacking team as having carried out the attack on Kenya’s intelligence agency.
The group is known as “BackdoorDiplomacy” in the cybersecurity research community, because of its record of trying to further the objectives of Chinese diplomatic strategy. [Source]
Chinese officials forcefully denied the allegations. Within hours, the Chinese embassy in Kenya published a press release on its website calling the Reuters report “groundless, far-fetched and sheer nonsense.”
Describing the hacking reports as a “collective disinformation campaign,” Chinese foreign ministry spo ..
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