Weeks after China came under fire for its suspected involvement in hacking attempts against a range of media and companies in the US, the BBC has claimed that authorities in the country are jamming the local broadcast of its World Service radio news bulletins.
The BBC says it is not able to directly pinpoint the source of the jamming of the shortwave service but the “extensive and coordinated efforts are indicative of a well-resourced country such as China”.
“The deliberate and coordinated efforts by authorities in countries such as China and Iran illustrate the significance and importance of the role the BBC undertakes to provide impartial and accurate information to audiences around the world,” BBC director of global news Peter Horrocks said in a statement.
Horrocks said he believed that the timing of the jamming was set so as to cause disruption to the World Service in particular, and — though shortwave jamming is different to cyber attacks — the report is the latest round of accusations levied against the Chinese government.
Earlier this month, security firm Mandiant released a damning report that gave unprecedented evidence into the way that China’s ‘cyber army’ — believed to be the 2nd Bureau of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) General Staff Department’s (GSD) 3rd Department, also known as Unit 61398 — ran state-sponsored hacking programs.
The New York Times encountered persistent attacks from Chinese hackers last year, while Reuters, The Wall Street Journal, and tech companies like Apple (though its attack may have come from the Ukraine) and Microsoft have come forward to reveal that they faced similar attacks. Rupert Murdoch later claimed that attacks on the Journal had continued despite widespread press coverage.
Chinese officials have dismissed the claims of state-sponsored hacking as “groundless”. This week, a spokesperson added further color, saying that the government is concerned at the risk for potential conflict following the recent reportage of cyber crimes.
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