Intelligence: In retaliation for Lithuania over relations with Taiwan, China is also organizing cyber attacks
“China is applying the following pressure measures in a comprehensive manner: conducting an information campaign on Lithuania’s assessment, implementing large-scale informal economic restrictions, unilaterally reducing the capacity of diplomatic representation, expanding intelligence capabilities against Lithuania, including hostility in the cyber national space,” the annual threat report said.
Annual reports were prepared by the State Security Department (SSD) and the Lithuanian Military Intelligence.
These authorities predict that Beijing will continue to put pressure on Lithuania, but will officially deny any links to the restrictive measures being implemented.
Universities are also included
The deterioration of Lithuanian-Chinese relations for some time is the end of the opening of the Taiwanese representation in Vilnius last autumn. As a result, Beijing restricted diplomatic relations with Vilnius and blocked Lithuanian exports.
Experts say the Chinese name of the mission sounds like a Taiwanese mission. Beijing sees the island’s attempts to act as an independent country.
According to Lithuanian intelligence, China’s aspiration to dominate the world encourages the intensive development of the country’s cyber intelligence capabilities, which complement the traditional methods of intelligence gathering.
“China is increasingly using its cyber capabilities against Lithuania. “China is making targeted use of cyber espionage groups with significant potential, which are collecting sensitive political, military and commercial information on the orders of Chinese intelligence services,” the report said.
According to officials, the activities of cyber espionage groups in China are coordinated by two main services: the Ministry of State Security and the Director of Military Intelligence.
“The goals of cyber intelligence involve the country’s universities, private IT companies, freelance IT experts and criminal cybercriminals. “China’s high-level cyber capabilities show sophisticated malware developed by clusters for control and advancement systems,” the document said.
Ghostwriter is the most active in Lithuania
Ghostwriter, a group of programmers linked to Russia and Belarus, has launched attacks in recent years beyond NATO and the national defense system, according to intelligence.
“(…) The attacks have been launched against new targets and include the migrant crisis, the pandemic, dissatisfaction with the means of managing it and other important events aimed at forming a narrative against Lithuania,” the report said.
“This is likely to affect the wider public and have a greater impact,” it said.
Although the false messages used in previous attacks have been in line with rhetoric in support of both Russian and Belarusian interests, intelligence emphasizes that Belarus has paid special attention in recent years to useful statements.
“Ghostwriter’s large-scale cyber-information operations campaign against Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and other NATO countries is the most active in the Lithuanian information space,” the document said.
Intelligence points out that the institute of disinformation in the country’s information space is very limited to the public, but operators are seeking a wide range of measures. For example, it mimics state networks, breaks into them in an attempt to change, seizes space.
The information on the national security threat assessment report published on Friday was collected before the beginning of February, therefore the documents do not analyze the military and geopolitical consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the most relevant security situation.