A healthcare system spanning 29 states announced on Monday that cybercriminals operating from China stole information on approximately 4.5 million patients, including names, birth dates, and Social Security numbers.
Community Health Systems, which comprises 206 facilities in the southern and western states, announced the incident in an 8-K filing submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The data breach likely stems from compromises in April and June of this year, involved sophisticated malware, and is apparently connected to China, the company stated.
“The attacker was able to bypass the Company’s security measures and successfully copy and transfer certain data outside the Company,” CHS said in its 8-K filing. “Since first learning of this attack, the Company has worked closely with federal law enforcement authorities in connection with their investigation and possible prosecution of those determined to be responsible for this attack.”
While attacks against US companies by nation-state attackers—usually with apparent affiliations with China—have become common, the cybercriminals usually seek out intellectual property and sensitive information on business or policy, not personal information on individuals. The stolen information includes patient names, addresses, birth dates, telephone numbers, and Social Security numbers, but not credit-card, medical, or clinical information, the filing stated.
In its dealings with Africa, China has taken its lead from centuries of European colonial exploitation there. Take all that you want, and too bad if the natives suffer for it.
China, with its rapidly urbanizing population, is the world’s biggest importer of wood products. And in its dealings with Mozambique, it is increasingly buying timber that is illegally harvested, according to a new report (pdf). The nonprofit Environmental Investigation Agency compared Mozambique’s official harvest numbers to global import numbers and calculated that 93% of Mozambique’s timber was illegally harvested in 2013, up from 76% in 2007—and most of that goes to China.
That’s perhaps no surprise; Mozambique is poor and timber is a good source of income. But the level of illegal logging and timber smuggling for the Chinese market is way beyond sustainable levels, despite claims to the contrary by Mozambican officials, according to the EIA. If the excessive focus on just a handful of commercial timber species continues, the country’s commercial stocks will be largely depleted in the next 15 years.
The illegal exports mean that Mozambique suffered losses of $146 million in potential export and exploration taxes from 2007-2013, the EIA says. That could have covered the 2014 state budget for poverty-alleviation programs more than twice over. It could, alternatively, have covered 30 years of law enforcement for Mozambique’s National Forest Program, according to the report from the EIA.
China is taking a lot of heat for its apparent neo-colonialism, but Chinese officials have generally waved such criticism aside as unfounded. But, just last week, China’s ambassador to Tanzania admitted that Chinese behavior in Africa is less than exemplary. shanghaiist.com
“Our people just cannot shake their bad habits,” Lu said, in an interview (link in Chinese) with the Chinese paper Southern Metropolis News yesterday. “Tanzania hosts ambassadors from about 70 countries, but none of them needs to constantly worry like us about consular protection issues,” Lu [Youqing] added.
Chinese citizens have been caught smuggling ivory out of Tanzania, and some are operating illegal gold mining operations throughout Africa.
They’re importing raw materials from Africa, while exporting standard Chinese business practices. Just what Africans don’t need — more corruption.
Free Tibet, a London-based advocacy organization, has identified at least 100 fake Twitter accounts that were likely commissioned by Beijing to spread pro-Chinese propaganda in the West.
Curious about the people who were most prolifically tweeting pro-Chinese political messages, Free Tibet discovered they were fictitious personae created out of appealing photographs plucked from the Internet. @Tomhugo148, for example, used the photograph of a Brazilian underwear model. @Alayna Newark used the photograph of a Canadian actress.
The others were a grab bag of photographs of actresses, a New Zealand radio hostess and a handful of American high school students whose images were apparently taken from a commercial photography website.
Not only were the fake identities unusually good-looking, many of them had two first names, such as Tom Hugo, Ken Peters and Felix James, as though they were randomly chosen by a computer program. Some also had YouTube and MySpace accounts. They listed one another as followers, retweeting each other. One tweet criticizing the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader, was retweeted 6,555 times.
If you have anyone in your timeline bashing Japan over ownership of the unihabited Diaoyu (Senkaku) Islands, now you know why!
Another fossil surprise from China.
A new four-winged dinosaur has been discovered, with exceptionally long feathers on its tail and “hindwings”.
Changyuraptor yangi was a gliding predator which lived in the Cretaceous period in what is now Liaoning, China.
Its remarkable tail feathers - measuring up to 30cm - are the longest in any non-avian dinosaur.
There were several evolutionary lines of feathered dinosaurs, including the one that later evolved into birds, researchers say.
The supply chain attack, dubbed “Zombie Zero,” was identified by security researchers from TrapX, a cybersecurity firm in San Mateo, California, who wrote about it in a report released Thursday.
TrapX hasn’t named the Chinese manufacturer, but said that the malware was implanted in physical scanners shipped to customers, as well as in the Windows XP Embedded firmware available for download on the manufacturer’s website.
The malware was designed to launch attacks using the SMB (Server Message Block) protocol and the Radmin remote control protocol when the infected inventory scanner was connected to a company’s wireless network. It then looked for ERP (enterprise resource planning) servers with the word “finance” in their names and used known exploits to compromise them, said Carl Wright, executive vice president and general manager of TrapX.
According to the TrapX researchers, once an ERP server is found and compromised, the malware installs a second-stage component that connects to command-and-control server at the Lanxiang Vocational School in China’s Shandong province. The researchers noted in their report that the Lanxiang Vocational School has been linked in the past to cyberespionage attacks against Google and other companies as part of a campaign called Operation Aurora.
The second-stage component downloads a third and more sophisticated payload that establishes a separate connection to a facility in Beijing.
The malware’s goal is to steal corporate financial and customer data from ERP servers, as well shipping manifest information, the TrapX researchers said.
Bank of China and Citic Bank are evading capital control laws and enabling wealthy Chinese to move large sums of money out of the country, says China Central TV (CCTV).
Bank officials deny any wrongdoing.
The media outlet, which is a mouthpiece of the Chinese government, accused the two banks of “money laundering” in a televised investigative report. As both banks are also closely associated with the Chinese government, it’s a bit like the right hand accusing the left hand of criminal activities.
BOC, like CCTV, is one of the so-called central enterprises directly supervised by the State Council. To release such detailed and serious accusations against the bank suggests CCTV acquired approval in advance.
Wei Wuhui, a Shanghai-based media researcher, said: “It’s rare to see CCTV going after a state-owned enterprise like the Bank of China.
“And it is not just targeting one branch, but the whole BOC. The accusation of money laundering is also a serious charge. This is so rare and so severe.”
According to the linked report at South China Morning Post, many Chinese banks assist wealthy account holders in moving their funds offshore. Chinese law limits foreign transfers to US$50,000 a year, so Chinese hoping to emigrate or invest abroad must find ways to circumvent the restrictions.
Chinese money authorities have also cracked down on so-called money laundering in the Special Administrative Region of Macau, where mainlanders have been able to use illicit ATMs to withdraw money above the legal limits from their bank accounts.
Mainlanders also try to transfer money to Hong Kong for later transfer offshore, as Hong Kong has no capital controls.
The added scrutiny of financial institutions may be part of President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption efforts.
Who knew that big-budget crap-pop culture could do so much good?
But there was one clear message in Transformers 4: Hollywood loves the s*** out of China, because China loves Hollywood more than anyone else in the world. Films like Looper and Iron Man 3 did a decent amount of Eastern pandering, but something like half of Transformers: Age of Mechanical Dinosaurs takes place in Hong Kong. It’s no surprise that, while enjoying decent success in the U.S., Transformers is a freaking monster overseas.
Transformers 4 has been so successful, in fact, that we’re starting to suspect Michael Bay’s secret goal might be to avert World War III via dumb robot movies (his primary goal remains “make all of the money in the universe by blowing things up and hating women”). You laugh, but he’s doing more for Chinese-American relations than Richard Nixon ever did.
As today marks the 25th anniversary of the violent crackdown by Chinese troops at Tiananmen Square, Hong Kong prepares for the annual public vigil for the event—the largest and only one of its kind permitted within China.
Organisers have said they are expecting a crowd of up to 150,000 people to show up, including Hong Kong locals, groups of mainlanders who’ve come to Hong Kong for the occasion and expats, following last Saturday’s thousands-strong march in the city commemorating the event.
Every year, the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China organises a public event in Victoria Peak where a candlelit vigil is held to remember the student protesters who were killed on June 4, 1989. Participants also demand for government accountability of the event as well as the end of the CCP’s one-party system.
Meanwhile, the mainland’s censors have gone into high gear to block searches of and discussions about the Tian’anmen student protests and their bloody aftermath, when the government sent in troops to put down the “insurrection.” On the mainland, among people who know about it, the Tian’anmen is an “open secret” — something that is shared knowledge, but rarely discussed.
I once asked a friend of mine here if China’s currency would ever feature the image of Deng Xiaoping, who “opened up” China to the world and to free markets. He said flatly no, because too many people remember that it was Deng who authorized the military crackdown on the students in 1989.
There will be many articles about Tian’anmen 1989. Here’s my own modest contribution, at my blog.
China has woken up the whole region, and climate change ratchets up the tension with a slow certainty.
Announcing the dispatch of Japanese Coast Guard vessels to Vietnam, the Philippines, and Indonesia, Mr. Abe said Japan “intends to play a more active and proactive role” in the region and issued strong, if veiled criticism of China’s recent behavior in pressing its maritime territorial claims.
“Japan will offer its utmost support for the efforts of ASEAN countries as they work to ensure the security of the seas and the skies and maintain freedom of navigation and of overflight,” he said, referring to the Association of South East Asian Nations.
In a keynote speech to the Shangri La Dialogue, an annual forum for Asian defense and security specialists, Abe acknowledged that a number of the countries in the region that he would like to befriend had bitter memories of Japanese occupation during World War II.
But since the war, he insisted, “Japan has walked a path … abhorring war … and we will continue to walk that path for generations to come.”
While some will exploit this data for partisan purposes, well this really ain’t it. First, China’s economy was bound to either grow massively or the whole place just fail to develop and resemble the 3rd world. Well communism and undeniable economic & demographic changes have prevented that disaster befalling a billion+ people. I can’t really be sad about that. Say what you will of how they did it-It’s a triumph for them actually.
Did somebody’s pride get bruised? They need to think again. China is surpassing us with a population well over a billion (Wiki 1.363 B) and a rich landmass also far and away larger. A population about fourfold bigger. China is 3,704427 sq. miles. Plus they are a part of or right next door to some very powerful economies, like Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan. Yes Hong Kong is theirs now but it’s history suggests I include the earlier decades in this perspective. And still runs on different rules.
This is not Obama. Maybe one could argue Nixon set this in motion. IIRC every President past Nixon has been pro trade with China or almost anyone else too. “globalization” is a behemoth, largely immune to any single administration. Even two term admins.
The figures, compiled by the International Comparison Program hosted by the World Bank, are the most authoritative estimates of what money can buy in different countries and are used by most public and private sector organisations, such as the International Monetary Fund. This is the first time they have been updated since 2005.
After extensive research on the prices of goods and services, the ICP concluded that money goes further in poorer countries than it previously thought, prompting it to increase the relative size of emerging market economies.