China Linked to Hacking of Alaska State Government Over North Slope Natural Gas Pipeline

Cybersecurity experts believe that Chinese hackers targeted the Alaska state government during negations over a major natural gas pipeline.

In a report, experts stated that hackers based at Tsinghua University in China found a way to gain “illegitimate access” in the days prior to Alaska Governor's visit to China as he was leading a trade delegation in May. His trip was part of a longer-term effort to build a pipeline that would connect Alaska’s North Slope to the Chinese market.

Alaska’s North Slope is one of the world’s largest natural gas reserves and holds more than 200 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

The firm "Recorded Future" disclosed that hackers scanned computers belonging to Alaska Communications, the state Department of Natural Resources, Alaska Power and Telephone, TelAlaska, and the governor’s office.

If the report is correct, China is using surveillance developed to monitor the Tibetan minority, an ethnic group native to Tibet, and repurposing it to target American interlocutors. 

“The spike in scanning activity at the conclusion of trade discussions on related topics indicates that the activity was likely an attempt to gain insight into the Alaskan perspective on the trip and strategic advantage in the post-visit negotiations,” Recorded Future assessed.

Washington Examiner
Miami Herald