Chinese Government hacks Hong Kong Catholic Church

Government hackers from China are targeting Hong Kong Catholic Church leaders and clergy.

The attack comes as prominent Catholic leaders in Hong Kong have been vocal in support of the pro-democracy protests.

According to technology website ZDNet, a series of spear-phishing attacks have specifically targeted diocesan officials and are linked to the Chinese government.

The attacks came in the form of legitimate-looking documents that install malware on a user’s computer.

According to a malware analyst using the pseudonym Arkbird, the malware samples are typically associated with Chinese state groups.

“This virus contained legitimate-looking applications that loaded either a document or news article related to the Catholic Church, but actually installed malware on the user’s computer without their knowledge,” Arkbird says.

Arkbird says the lure documents, such as communications from Vatican officials or news articles from the Union of Catholic Asian News, load malicious malware on a victim’s computer.

On July 1 new “National security law” was introduced in Hong Kong. The law, signed by Catholic Governor, Carrie Lam, is expected to impact on the religious freedom of people in Hong Kong.

Under the new law, anyone convicted of secession, subversion, terrorism or collusion with foreign forces will receive a minimum of 10 years in prison, with the possibility of a life sentence.

The National security law has a broad definition of terrorism and even includes arson and vandalizing public transportation “with an intent to intimidate the Hong Kong government or Chinese government for political purposes.”

The administrator of the diocese, Cardinal John Tong Hon supports the new security law saying it will have no effect on religious freedom.

However his predecessor Archbishop Emeritus of Hong Kong, Cardinal Joseph Zen acknowledges the tricky situation Tong Hon is in.

“On the one hand, it will be a lot of trouble if we don’t support the government. We never know what they will do to our Church,” said Zen.

Zen, however, remains disappointed many in the Church gave support to the law.


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News category: World.

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