Espionage: The Office for the Protection of the Constitution warns against naivety in dealing with China

Espionage: The Office for the Protection of the Constitution warns against naivety in dealing with China

Classic espionage, cyber attacks, creating economic dependencies, siphoning off technology – German authorities are observing various methods used by Chinese secret services.

A few days after the arrest of four suspected spies, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution urged German companies and politicians to be highly vigilant in dealing with authoritarian states such as China.

“We are increasingly seeing attempts to influence politics, business and science using illegitimate means, but also classic espionage,” said the Vice President of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), Sinan Selen, at the start of a joint event between the authority and the Alliance for Security the economy (ASW).

It is high time to come to a more realistic assessment here. Where German managers were too naive and optimistic, “it can be observed that these companies have practically dissolved.” According to Selen, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution has long been pointing out the risks of mandatory tax software that allows state authorities comprehensive access to company internal information.

Dangerous apps, unsafe hotel safes

In order to protect themselves against this risk and the intrusion of malware via Chinese apps, German companies are now mostly sending their employees to China with “empty” devices that operate outside the global company network, it was learned at the security conference in Berlin. ASW managing director Günther Schotten said business travelers should be aware that confidential documents in hotel safes in China may not be safe. The motto of the event was “China’s aspirations in the world – implications for the security of German companies and politics”.

An employee of AfD MEP Maximilian Krah was arrested in Dresden on Monday. He is said to be working for a Chinese secret service. Krah has also attracted attention within his party in recent years with particularly uncritical positions on China and Russia. Shortly before, three suspected spies had been arrested in Düsseldorf and Bad Homburg. The two men and a woman are said to have obtained information about military technology in Germany in order to pass it on to the Chinese secret service.

BfV Vice: Necessary to identify risks

Selen said the Chinese leadership is keenly interested in expertise in robotics, aerospace and automation, among other things, on the way to its long-term goal of “world leadership”. The BfV deputy explained that isolation was not a solution. Rather, it is necessary to recognize risks. The aim is to reduce dependencies – especially in key technologies – and to implement robust security measures.

China is strongly focused on creating economic dependencies in order to be able to use them politically in the future, said the head of the China Center at Bremen University of Applied Sciences, Sandra Heep. China’s relationship with Russia is not focused on economic issues. Rather, one sees ideological similarities – as great powers that are striving to regain their former status after a “period of humiliation”.

The ASW board chairman, Alexander Borgschulze, said that protection against industrial espionage is not just about individual companies, but also about “foreign powers that are systematically trying to weaken the Federal Republic.” In response to reports from “Spiegel” and ZDF that Volkswagen’s drive technology had been spied on for years – presumably by hackers from China – Selen said that this “completely fits in with our situation report”.

Source: Stern

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