They operate worldwide and are unstoppable

With today’s mostly networked world, which includes 4G and 5G signals, optical connections, and a variety of satellites ranging from GPS to digital TV signals, gathering data of all types has become the major task of all intelligence services and organisations throughout the world.

Though agents from various services are often portrayed as “superheroes” in Hollywood films and television shows, they are actually data analysts, IT specialists, and frequently psychologists who assess the behaviour of adversarial nations and their leaders—and, on occasion, ordinary citizens.

Chinese Intelligence Services

“They have mobilised literally everyone; even if someone doesn’t want to, they have to.”

China’s intelligence services operate internationally. China’s intelligence agencies maintain a tight eye on the United States, Australia and Europe.

The Norwegian government has issued a warning about the security threat posed by Chinese espionage networks in Europe, according to its annual security report.

According to the findings, China leverages cyber space as its principal gateway for political and industrial espionage.

The Netherlands, a separate NATO member, stated in its assessment that state-sponsored Chinese hackers installed dangerous malware on the Dutch military computer network the previous year.


The US FBI has stated that it has shut down a “botnet,” which was set up by Beijing-approved hackers to conceal reports that they were planning to assault “critical infrastructure.”

The phrase “botnet” is a play on the words “robot” and “network,” and it refers to a group of computers infected with malicious software and controlled by a malevolent actor.

Duty to help authorities

The heads of intelligence in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand have issued warnings, alleging that Beijing is stealing intellectual property on an unprecedented scale.

China’s intelligence agencies use a variety of widely available tools and digital infrastructure to mask their operations while conducting business all over the world.

It is stated that civilian actors such as “diplomats, tour operators, private individuals, companies, and various interest groups” assist them in carrying out their responsibilities.

It is also worth noting that these intelligence services rely on their close relationships to Chinese corporate companies and that Chinese enterprises and nationals are legally compelled to comply with their government’s intelligence-collecting activities when requested.

According to a NATO ally assessment, given the involvement of China, Russia, and other Iranian-sponsored militant groups such as Hamas, the West faces a “more dangerous security situation” than it did a year earlier.

Value Chain Issues

According to the article, these states have a “revisionist agenda of undermining Western influence and establishing an international order in which liberal values such as democracy and freedom of speech do not determine direction”.

Aside from intelligence gathering, the report highlighted concern about China’s and its allies’ reliance on supply networks and value chains that are disproportionately dominated by a few individuals. China’s impact on mineral beneficiation technologies was cited as an example.

Norway’s intelligence service has identified China as a prominent participant in the context of Western sanctions imposed on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. China has the “ability and will” to use these dependencies to apply political pressure.

A prudent choice

In recent years, US authorities have discovered 100 Chinese individuals who approached military sites and other sensitive locations, including a missile launch site in Florida, under the guise of being tourists.

Most certainly, testing US security standards is at stake.

Military and security professionals see it as a concerning and growing trend.

Some attempted to gain access to a missile facility in New Mexico, while others were seen diving and recording near a missile complex in Key West, Florida.

Numerous people have been apprehended while attempting to breach military locations.

Certain incidents are harmless, such as the Chinese visitors who claimed to have found the nearest Burger King or McDonald’s using Google Maps, only to realize that it was next to a military station.

Some cases are more severe. In one occasion, a group of Chinese nationals pretended to be tourists and sought to evade security at Fort Wainwright in Alaska by claiming they had arrangements for a hotel stay on a military base. That installation is home to the United States Army’s 11th Airborne Division.

Some in the United States have expressed concern that Beijing is gathering intelligence in nontraditional ways, such as near bases or using commercially available Chinese-made equipment that could be spied on.

The Pentagon stated that it has conducted repeated security examinations of military locations since 2018.

Every day, about 10,000 people are turned away from military facilities. These are usually drivers who are unclear about their location, and they are safely returned.

Nevertheless, there are some serious cases

Chinese people are routinely spotted at the US military training facilities.

Assume they visit White Sands National Park, go sledding down sand dunes, and then travel to an area where people shoot rockets.

Chinese nationals have occasionally been seen filming with drones.

The People’s Republic of China has a “bigger hacking program than any other major nation”.

This gives China considerable power, in addition to traditional espionage and trade secret theft from private companies and research institutions.

China is considerably supporting Russia’s war machine as the stalemate with Ukraine enters its third year.

This support does not consist of ready-to-use weapons, as North Korea and Iran are accused of providing, but rather of a large number of vehicles, other machinery, parts, and electronic components.

This post was written by Mario Bekes