About a week ago top secret documents related to NSA’s PRISM program were leaked. A few days back the PRISM leak source identified himself as Edward Snowden, a 29 year old former CIA technical assistant. He said in an interview with South China Morning Post that U.S. has been hacking in to computer systems based in Hong Kong and mainland China, according to him this has been going on since 2009. Snowden believes that more than 61,000 hacking operations were conducted by the NSA in various countries, with hundreds of them being focused on China and its Special Administrative Regions which include Macau and Hong Kong.
The documents Snowden refers to as proof have not been verified by the Post, but apparently they don’t reveal anything about China’s military systems. The targets of these hacks were apparently businesses, Chinese University of Hong Kong students and public officials. Snowden explained that by hacking network backbones, which basically are like massive internet routers, access to communications of hundreds of thousands of computers can be obtained without having to hack in to every single computer network.
While no response has come in as yet from the NSA regarding these allegations, perhaps they might be used by China to strengthen its point of view that it is actually the victim of cyberattacks. These comments were made recently, when news broke out that Chinese hackers had apparently accessed U.S. weapons designs. The Administration has already said that it will take a firm stand against cyberattacks originating from China, but in light of these allegations, it just might have to deal with some harsh comments from the People’s Republic.