China wants to topple the US as a world superpower by 2049, and it is now being pursued obsessively. According to Danny Pronk, a security expert at So Secure, China uses Chinese companies in the Netherlands for this, and more than 300,000 hackers work for the Chinese government every day.
Chinese companies that make camera equipment, for example, are forced to turn over all data captured by cameras to the Chinese government, according to Prang. “One thing that happens is that a Chinese representative knocks on the door and asks what can be seen in the pictures,” says Bronk. “If it hasn’t already been agreed upon, it needs to happen.”
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Mandatory transfer of information to one’s own government serves a variety of purposes, he asserts. After all, China has set itself the goal of developing itself into the ultimate world superpower by 2049, the centenary of the People’s Republic. ‘That way they want to topple the current world power, America,’ continues Frank.
To achieve this, China is developing and expanding in political, economic and military fields. ‘They want to be more powerful and have more influence,’ Frank continues. ‘You can use all kinds of information very effectively for that.’
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When AIVD’s director general Erik Akerboom said last week that 100,000 hackers are active in China every day in BNR’s Big Five, Frank says the number is three times higher. They try to break into Dutch companies, but also government agencies and organizations around the world to steal data.
Listen to PNR’s Big Five full episode
Frank also calls China ‘No. 1’ when it comes to digital spies, and it’s a scary picture. This is mainly due to China’s large-scale and comprehensive approach. “They’ve mobilized their entire community to get their hands on the so-called new gold of data.”
The Chinese are mainly interested in getting data about other countries and about technology. For that reason, ASML has been banned from sending advanced chip machines to China. A wise decision according to Pronk. “We’re cutting ourselves in the fingers with that, and it can reduce the income of a company like ASML,” he says. “But on the other hand – we’re increasingly drawn into the geopolitical power struggle between the US and China, in which we’re kind of a plaything, so these kind of painful choices have to be made.’
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