Anti-China “hacking” furore highlights New Zealand’s growing integration into war preparations | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker

New Zealand’s political establishment and media have joined the US and Britain in a campaign vilifying China over charges of espionage. The country’s main intelligence agency—the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB)—confirmed an alleged breach immediately after the UK and US accused China of similar, but “higher level,” attacks.

GCSB director-general Andrew Clark (left) and NZSIS director-general Andrew Hampton speaking at a parliamentary select committee hearing on March 26. [Photo by / CC BY-ND 1.0]

Defence Minister Judith Collins stated on March 26 that the Parliamentary Service and Parliamentary Counsel Office had been targeted in a China-linked 2021 cyberattack. The Parliamentary Service provides administrative and support services to parliament and MPs, while the Parliamentary Counsel Office is responsible for drafting and publishing legislation. Collins said it was the first cyber-attack on New Zealand’s “democratic institutions” she was aware of.

According to GCSB director Andrew Clark, in August 2021 the agency became aware of “malicious activity” that compromised the parliamentary offices. He claimed that an investigation linked the hack to China’s ministry of state security and an affiliated group known as APT40, and because the breach was “detected quickly,” no sensitive data was taken.

A Chinese embassy spokesperson rejected the accusations as “groundless and irresponsible” and lodged diplomatic protests expressing “strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition.” The statement came shortly after New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Winston Peters had cautioned China against “further interference.”

The sudden bringing forward of an alleged breach dating back to 2021 is clearly part of a co-ordinated operation with New Zealand’s allies in the Five Eyes spy network, which is led by the US and also includes Australia and Canada. Over the past week, US and British officials have filed charges, imposed sanctions, and accused Beijing over an alleged cyber-espionage campaign claimed to hit “millions” of people, including lawmakers, academics, journalists and others.

As the WSWS noted, the lurid accusations, accompanied by a hysterical media barrage, are part of the US-led efforts to directly confront China and prepare for war, in order to establish unchallenged US global hegemony. The campaign signals an accelerated reversal of a previous thawing in relations between the UK and Beijing, with demands that China be officially declared a “threat” to national interests.

Nervous about endangering New Zealand’s economic reliance on China, its largest trading partner accounting for nearly 30 percent of exports, the far-right National Party-led government stopped short of imposing sanctions. Peters declared that the public naming of China, “a rare step in itself, is an appropriate response.” The issue was reportedly not raised with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi during his visit to Wellington last month.

The accusation, however, is part of stepped up efforts to integrate New Zealand into imperialist war plans. It comes after growing indications from Wellington that it intends to join the AUKUS (Australia-UK-US) military pact, which is aimed at supplying Australia with nuclear-powered submarines and other weapons, and increasing the sharing of military technology between the allied imperialist powers.

New Zealand’s intelligence agencies are playing a key role in stoking animosity towards China. At the same time as the “hacking” allegations were made, New Zealand’s internal spy agency, the Special Intelligence Service (NZSIS), told a parliamentary hearing that seven New Zealanders had been involved in providing military aviation training for the Chinese army.


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