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Chinese Hackers - More Reputation Damage

Flag_2At first, I took only passing notice of this article from FT.com which contains a warning from Britain's national security agency about computer hacking.

"The director-general of MI5 has warned banks and financial services companies that commercially sensitive information is at risk of being compromised by Chinese computer hacking. According to private sector security specialists, Jonathan Evans, who took over as chief of MI5, the Security Service, in April, delivered the warning in an unusual letter to the companies, saying the threat came from Chinese state enterprises."

My first thought was Why would MI5 be concerning itself with protecting British banks and financial services from what used to be called industrial sabotage? I think fears of the Chinese hacking military infrastructure would be higher on the agenda of Britain's venerable spy agency especially when we have a variety of wars and terrorist actions taking place all around us and MI5 itself currently rates the level of terrorist threat as "serious", only one step lower than "critical"?

Then I looked at another more ominous warning about China-centered hacking, this time emanating, it is thought, from Chinese government or intelligence service sources. According to an article in HSDailyWire.com

"A confidential DHS memorandum circulated to government and private security officials last Wednesday says that a cyber attack reported earlier last week by one of the federal government’s nuclear weapons laboratories may have originated in China."

Now throw this stuff together with serious public concerns about the various recalls of Chinese food and toys and you have an undercurrent of pretty deep-seated mistrust. I wonder how many Chinese state-run companies looking to acquire off-shore assets have any idea what a poisoned public and political atmosphere they are beginning to face in the home countries of the companies they are trying to get their hands on? I wonder whether the Chinese government takes seriously the responsibilities that come with its new place in the world. Does it underestimate the lasting nature of this mistrust or understand that most of the world's peoples value transparency? Or maybe it hasn't quite accepted what companies in developed countries have learned in spades over the past few years . . . the importance of establishing reputation "equity" on a sound foundation of socially driven values.

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