It has come to light that China has been spying on the African Union (AU) after inserting a backdoor in the AU’s computer networks.
An extensive investigation by French newspaper Le Monde has revealed that the Asian country offered to build and pay for the AU’s computer network, but had plans to secretly insert spying devices.
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China built the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa in 2012 on the premise that it was a gift to their “African friends”.
However, the report suggest that they inserted a backdoor in the computer networks of the building allowing them to tap into secrets of the AU.
Le Monde reports that the information technology unit at the African Union’s headquarters only noticed China’s dealings recently after recording strange data usage.
The technicians noticed that there was a strange peak in data usage between midnight and 2am.
Further investigations revealed that confidential information was being sent to servers based in Shanghai.
“According to several sources within the institution, all sensitive content could be spied on by China,” wrote Le Monde. “It’s a spectacular leak of data, spread from January 2012 to January 2017.”
The African Union, however, moved quickly to change all the computer networks by acquiring its own servers and encrypting its communications.
A team of experts from Algeria and Ethiopia was also put together to look out for hidden microphones and other potential weaknesses in the AU Headquarters.
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