Pro-Democracy Protestors In Hong Kong Are Having Their Phones Hacked By The Chinese Government

A fake mobile application was created, and mobile phone users started receiving messages via WhatsApp


by Fiona Byrne |
Published on

Pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong have fallen victim to a phone phishing attack which has apparently come from the Chinese government, which is attempting to gain access to personal information.

A fake mobile application was created and mobile phone users started receiving messages via WhatsApp saying ‘Check out this Android app designed by Code4HK for the coordination of OCCUPY CENTRAL’. The pro-democracy programming community Code4HK says it’s got nothing to do with it, and after some investigation, Lacoon Mobile Security’s chief executive Michael Shaulov tells the New York Times it’s more than likely the attack came from the Chinese government, saying due to the 'targets of the operation, where the servers are based and the sophistication of the attack, it doesn’t leave much room to the imagination.'

Anyone who falls for the fake text message and actually downloads the app is compromising the security of their phone and all its apps, so think bank accounts, phone calls, texts, emails etc. And it’s not just targeting Android systems; it’s able to hack iPhones, too. iPhones were previously considered more secure,

‘This is the first time that we have seen such operationally sophisticated iOS malware operational, which is actually developed by a Chinese-speaking entity,’ said Shaulov. Hmmm, is he implying an English speaking hacker has been enlisted to spy? Well, it is possible. The CIA in the US recently started making videos warning college students who study abroad (namely: in China) that they may be drawn into spying on the US. Yes, really. It happens!

Lacoon also discovered the app was created by a computer that was almost identical to one previously used by the Chinese military to hack American companies. So, it's pretty obvious who's doing the hacking.

On another note, worried that the internet or cellphone service goes down, protestors actually really have created a new app, FireChat, that allows messages to be sent via bluetooth or the phone’s radio signal to other devices within an 80 yard radius, and they’ve been using that to communicate. It also works even when the cell service goes down to too many users in one area, such as during the protests.

Unsurprisingly, any posts supporting the protests on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, have been deleted.

Picture: Getty

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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