Hackers working for the Chinese government are said to have been tracking the movements of ethnic Uighurs, a mostly Muslim minority, which is viewed as a security threat by Beijing. The hacks are a part of a rather extensive cyber-espionage campaign focused on “high-value individuals” such as diplomats and foreign military personnel, the sources said.
As a part of the campaign, various groups of Chinese hackers have compromised telecoms operators in nations including Turkey, Kazakhstan, India, Thailand and Malaysia, the four sources said.
China is currently confronting growing international criticism over its treatment of Uighurs in Xinjiang , as the members from the group have been subject to mass confinements in what China calls “vocational training” centres as well as ‘widespread state surveillance’.
The nation has more than once denied association in any cyber-attacks or any abuse of the Uighur people, whose religious and cultural rights Beijing says are completely ensured, and the Chinese Foreign Ministry said any hacking charges should be upheld by legitimate proof.
“We would again like to stress that China is a resolute safeguarder of internet security. We consistently and resolutely oppose and crack down on any forms of internet attacks,” a ministry statement said.
While government authorities in India and Thailand declined to remark in regards to the specific telecoms operators that were undermined, officials in Malaysia, Kazakhstan and Turkey refused to promptly react to the requests for comments.
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