Nigerian telco says it accidentally routed Google traffic through China

BGP is a notoriously insecure process by which routes for internet data are advertised and discovered by routers; its ubiquity and insecurity make it a prime suspect whenever it seems that national spy agencies might be diverting traffic. Read the rest

China reinstates ban on using tiger and rhino parts in traditional medicine

After the whole damn planet declared its disgust with China's lifting the ban on using tiger bones and rhino horn in medicine, the Chinese government has decided to back peddle on its declaration: using the exotic, endangered animals bits and pieces will remain off limits to the world of eastern medicine.

From The New York Times:

Making a rare concession, the State Council, China’s cabinet, said that it had decided to postpone an order made last month to undo a 25-year ban on the trade.

“The Chinese government has not changed its stance on wildlife protection and will not ease the crackdown on illegal trafficking and trade of rhinos, tigers and their byproducts,” Ding Xuedong, a top official with the council, said in remarks published in the state-run news media on Monday.

I'm having a hard time believing that anything to do with any government would be good news this year, but here we are.

It is worth noting, however, that the Chinese ban on slapping bones and horn into medicine isn't permanent. It could be rescinded at any point in the future. However, as The New York Times points out, China's working hard to sort out a greater share of respect on the world stage. Not murdering rare animals for their bits and pieces? That's an easy win.

Now if we could just get them to knock off the shit they're pulling with Muslims in their nation, we'll be getting somewhere.

Image by Soumyajit Nandy - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link Read the rest

Ivanka Trump to get 16 new China trademarks, including one for 'voting machines'

Why does Ivanka Trump need trademarks for nursing homes, sausage casing, and *voting machines* in China? Or do we not want to know. Read the rest

Two Goldman Sachs bankers charged in multibillion-dollar Malaysian money-laundering scam

In 2015, the Malaysian government collapsed after a scandal involving embezzlement from the state-owned 1Malaysia Development Berhad fund; the scandal shows no sign of slowing down, with fresh accusations against the country's business and political leadership surfacing regularly and one prime suspect, the financier and "tabloid party boy" Jho Low going on the run, a fugitive believed to be in China. Read the rest

China Telecom has been using poisoned internet routes to suck up massive amounts of US and Canadian internet traffic

In a new paper published in the journal Military Cyber Affairs researchers from the US Naval War College and Tel Aviv University document the use of BGP spoofing by China Telecom to redirect massive swathes of internet traffic through the company's routers as part of state military and commercial espionage efforts. Read the rest

Chinese spies attempted to compromise 4,000 French citizens on LinkedIn

With the midterm elections creeping up, everyone in the media's been busier than a cat trying to bury a turd in a marble floor watching for signs of Russian interference. Given the amount of chaos that Russia's cyber operatives have been responsible for over the past few years, this is totally understandable. However, it might be a good idea for the media to keep an eye on China's online comings and goings, as well.

According to a report released by the French government, Chinese cyber operatives have been hard at work attempting to compromise or enlist thousands of well-placed professionals and intellectuals online to leverage in the real world.

From IntelNews:

The report describes Chinese efforts to approach senior French scientists, business executives, academics and others, as “widespread and elaborate”, and warns that it poses an “unprecedented threat against the national interests” of the French state. It goes on to state that nearly 4,000 carefully selected French citizens have been approached by Chinese intelligence operatives via the LinkedIn social media platform. Of those nearly half, or 1,700, have leading posts in French industry, while the remaining 2,300 work in the public sector. In their totality, those targeted are involved nearly every area of industry and government administration, including those of nuclear energy, telecommunications, computing and transportation, said the report.

Uh Oh.

In many cases, the Chinese operatives used fake identities, pretending to be headhunters for overseas corporations and think tanks on LinkedIn. As part of the ruse, the ops would invite their targets on all-expenses-paid trips to China for job interviews or research symposiums – whatever turned their target's crank. Read the rest

An interactive map of China's wildcat strikes

China's move into a "mixed economy" has created a wealth inequality crisis to rival any nation's; wildcat workers' strikes (aided by Young Communist movements) have become increasingly common, though they are not often reported in the news (it helps that Chinese state media and the country's official censors suppress these reports). Read the rest

China's panicked upper middle class are easy picking for offshore real estate scams

The combination of Chinese anti-corruption reforms and currency controls has China's storied "middle class" (a nebulously defined category whose size and wealth are the subject of multiple, conflicting accounts) scrambling for ways to get their money out of the country and to establish bolt holes to escape to, should the situation suddenly worsen. Read the rest

A year later, giant Chinese security camera company's products are still a security dumpster-fire

A year ago, Chinese white-label CCTV/DVR vendor Xiongmai announced a recall and security update for its devices, whose weak security meant that they had been conscripted into a massive, unstoppable botnet. Read the rest

Leak shows Google lied when it claimed it wasn't near launching its censored Chinese search tool

When Google employees discovered last August to their horror that the company had been secretly working on a censored search engine ("Project Dragonfly) for use in China, the company assured them that this was only an early-stage prototype and nowhere near launching. Read the rest

Tech workers are downing tools and refusing to work on unethical projects

Tech workers are in demand: companies find it easier to raise cash than to hire engineers; this gives workers enormous bargaining power, and they're using it. Read the rest

Some important technical (and skeptical) notes about the Chinese-backdoored-servers story

Yesterday, Bloomberg published a blockbuster story accusing the Chinese military of sneaking spy-chips "the size of a grain of rice" onto the motherboards of servers sold by Supermicro and/or Elemental for use in data-centers operated by the biggest US corporations (Apple and Amazon, among others), as well as US warships and military data-centers, and the servers used by Congress and the Senate. Read the rest

Report: Chinese spies snuck tiny backdoor chips onto US corporate, government and military servers

According to an explosive report in Bloomberg, US spies and large corporate IT departments have had an open secret for years: the servers supplied by US hardware giant Supermicro for Elemental, Inc were sometimes infected with tiny hardware backdoors by Chinese spies during their manufacture; these superminiature chips were wired into the systems' baseboard management system and were able to accept covert software patches that would allow Chinese spies to utterly compromise both the servers and the networks they were connected to. Read the rest

Chinese villager crafts wedding dress out of 40 cement bags

Future brides and/or Halloween costume makers take note: cement bags can be repurposed to create long-trained wedding dresses.

Oddity Central:

28-year-old Lili Tan has never taken fashion design courses, and spends most of her time farming, not creating wedding gowns, but looking at the amazing dress she created on a rainy day, when she couldn’t work in the fields, you could swear she makes dresses and accessories for a living. Using 40 discarded cement bags, the contents of which had gone toward renovating her village house near Longnan city, in China’s Gangsu province, Tan was able to create an elaborate wedding dress like the ones she saw in magazines, an impressive train for it, as well as a fancy hat. She showed them off on social media in a video which instantly went viral with several millions of views.

Read the rest

Little Green Terracotta Army Men

Forget Little Green Army Men in Yoga Poses; they're totally 2016; the contemporary Little Green Army Man is a mashup with the terracotta warriors: they're $41 from Hobbylink Japan. (via Super Punch) Read the rest

Chinese students, made to study Communism, are rising up for workers' rights

In 1989, the Chinese government slaughtered pro-democracy student activists whose commitment to justice swept the nation; now they're facing a new student uprising, one comprised of ardent Communist youth whose state-mandated education in the works of Marx, Lenin and Mao have prompted them to stand up for oppressed workers who labor in the for-profit factories that have flourished since the Deng reforms. Read the rest

Trying out China's girlfriend rental service

For about $50, you can hire a woman for a few hours to pretend to be your girlfriend in China. Kei, one of the hosts of Asian Boss, tried out the app-based service. He and his "girlfriend" went to a park and tried some exercise equipment, then he sat down and interviewed her about what it is like to be a pretend girlfriend. She told him that she had been working as a pretend girlfriend for two or three years and she is doing it to pay down debt. She says there are 7 or 8 similar apps and she is registered on each one of them.

Image: YouTube screenshot Read the rest

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