China on Tuesday expressed “grave concerns” about what it labelled “irresponsible and malicious” cyber activities of the US government using the cyber weapon “Beehive” for espionage and deploying it in the neighbouring countries to China. Demanding an answer, Chinese Wang Wenbin asserted at a briefing: “We urge the US side to explain itself and immediately stop such malicious activities.”

He went on to add that Beijing’s National Computer Virus Emergency Response Center has pointed out that if existing international internet backbone network and critical information infrastructure contain software or hardware provided by US companies, it is highly likely that they have become the targets of Washington government’s covert cyber compromises and data stealing.

“US has been trying to cajole relevant countries, especially China’s neighbours, into cybersecurity cooperation with it,” said Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wenbin. “It even pursues the so-called ‘Forward Deployment’ of cyber military forces. Will such cooperation open backdoor for malicious US cyber activities? Will it turn out to be chess pieces as the US instigates geostrategic rivalry? Relevant countries will judge for themselves,” he stressed.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Wang Wenbin. Credit: AP

CIA beehive report published after US-India extend Artificial Intelligence initiative for national security in Indo-Pacific

China’s report on the so called “CIA using a powerful platform ‘Beehive’ as cyber warfare,” has come out at a time when India and Washington have finalised signing of a new Space Situational Awareness arrangement (SSA) and extension of the US-India Artificial Intelligence initiative, or USIAI. “It’s clear India has got an interest in bringing AI into national security,” the retired Air Force lieutenant general John N.T. Shanahan reportedly said.

Assistant Secretary of Defence for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Ely Ratner had tweeted about India-US space cooperation for safe, secure, and sustainable use of outer space. India-US cyber and space dialogue was a part of the four ministerial 2+2 dialogue held by India’s Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh and Minister of External Affairs Dr. S. Jaishankar, and US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The two allies also held talks about Defence Artificial Intelligence Dialogue to bolster artificial intelligence and its use for national security in the Indo-Pacific. Pentagon’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center’s first director Jack Shanahan described the prospective talks as a “very significant event.”

[Credit: AP]

“The United States and India signed a Space Situational Awareness arrangement, which lays the groundwork for more advanced cooperation in space,” the Pentagon said in a readout. “They also agreed to launch an inaugural Defense Artificial Intelligence Dialogue, while expanding joint cyber training and exercises.”

US cooperation in cyberspace with China’s neighbours ‘new stage for geopolitical confrontation’: Beijing’s FM spokesperson

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said, “What we saw yesterday was more concrete examples of the ways we’re going to continue to work with India to strengthen this defence partnership.” China’s foreign ministry now expressed “concerns” about the “irresponsible and harmful activity on the part of the US government in cyberspace.” It went on to say that Washington has strengthened cooperation in cybersapce with China’s neighbouring countries “potentially setting a new stage for geopolitical confrontation.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and external affairs minister S Jaishankar. Credit: AP

It remains unclear if Beijing is hurtling New Delhi with such threats by exposing the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and defence giant Northrop Grumman’s cyber weapon in a report published by Chinese cybersecurity experts. “US military-industrial complex has fully penetrated international networks,” a Chinese report exposed by state affiliated Global Times claimed. ‘Beehive’ platform can support remote scanning, vulnerability exploitation, concealed implantation, secret theft, file extraction, intranet penetration, and system destruction, it went on to add.

China is claiming that US cyber cooperation is a threat as CIA “conceals” its espionage operations by deploying the network infrastructure related to the “Beehive” platform around the world, particularly China’s neighbouring countries. The platform helps the CIA to steal secret information, and is the fifth cyber weapon. Beijing has claimed that Chinese cybersecurity experts disclosed weapons used by the US National Security Agency (NSA) to target China in March. The report was “a reminder to the world” not to turn into US target.

Image: AP