New Zealand intelligence agency accuses China of ongoing cyberespionage

The report identifies persistent foreign intelligence threats engaged in espionage operations within New Zealand.

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The New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) has issued an unclassified report accusing China of ongoing cyberespionage activities within and against New Zealand. In the 53-page document, NZSIS characterises the Chinese actions as a complex intelligence concern for New Zealand, emphasising that groups and individuals linked to Chinese intelligence continue to target the nation’s diverse ethnic Chinese communities.

The report adds that the proliferation of technology has facilitated covert hostile actions, enabling foreign states to carry out foreign interference and cyberespionage while disavowing any direct involvement by utilising cybercriminal groups or unrelated actors.

Andrew Hampton, Director General of Security for NZSIS, asserts that the NZSIS differentiates between the actions of states and the individuals of Chinese ethnicity residing in New Zealand. The report does not cast any specific community as a threat, as such an interpretation would misrepresent the analysis.

Earlier in the year, Phil McKee, Acting Director-General of NZSIS, informed New Zealand’s parliamentarians that the most concerning instances of foreign interference involve the targeting and harassment of ethnic communities within New Zealand that voice dissent against a foreign government’s actions.