No one is safe from information leaks, especially big businessmen, celebrities and politicians. A recent report by database security audit specialists mentions that the profiles of multiple members of Australia’s economic elites were leaked by Zhenhua Data, a Chinese Communist Party contractor who claims to be in charge of a “hybrid war”.
Leaked information includes profiles of a software entrepreneur, mining company executives, and celebrities, former military and political chiefs.
A database security audit expert talk about this incident as “Cambridge Analytics on Steroids”, referring to the data security scandal occurred during the last U.S. presidential election. For its part, the contractor states that its purpose is to use this data (extracted from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, among other platforms) to drive the rejuvenation of the Asian nation.
This incident could not have happened at a worse time, as the governments of Australia and China are going through serious differences and political tension. The leaked database includes records of 2.4 million “people of interest” from around the world, including nearly 36,000 Australian citizens; among these, 656 are considered persons of interest or members of the political class. Australian citizens considered persons of interest include:
- Gob van Ek – co-founder of Power Ledger
- Brandon Munro – CEO of Bannerman Resources
- Scott Morrison – Australian Prime Minister
- Natalie Imbruglia – singer
- Raydon Gates – Former Commander of the Royal Australian Navy
- Jennifer Westacott – Director of the Business Council of Australia
- Emma Husar – Former Labour MP
- David Oldfield – co-founder of One Nation
- Anthony Cavanough – Supreme Court Judge
- Mike Cannon-Brookes, co-founder of Atlassian
- Geoff Raby – former ambassador to China
About this Chinese company, database security audit experts mention that its CEO used to work for IBM, and he is known for his radical positions. Reports indicate that the entrepreneur has suggested Beijing use the WeChat app to deploy what he defines as a “hybrid war,” using social psychology to manipulate public opinion on global political issues.
This information was sent anonymously to American researcher Chris Balding, who worked for Peking University until 2018, when he decided to return to the U.S. In Balding’s words, China is “developing a state of mass surveillance nationally and internationally, employing a wide variety of tools and collecting data from both publicly available sources and data breaches.”