The Catholic diocese of Hong Kong was reportedly invaded by Chinese hackers supported by the local government before important negotiations related to the renewal of a historic agreement in 2018, which undermined diplomatic relations between countries. This is Recorded Future, a company based in the United States that tracks cyber attacks.
According to the company, the blows of a group called RedDelta began in May of the same year, and the Hong Kong Study Mission in China, a key link between nations, would have been another target. The Asian country’s foreign minister denied any involvement, calling the accusations unfounded speculation.
The report said that the invasion “would offer RedDelta a view of the Holy See’s position before the renewal of the agreement in September 2020”, providing “valuable intelligence” about what Hong Kong Catholic entities think about the pro-democracy movement The Vatican, for its part, did not speak out.
Still according to the document, the attacks would have continued at least until July 21, 2018, carried out by an apparent phishing attempt with a document on Vatican State Secretariat letterhead addressed to the head of the Hong Kong Study Mission in China.
The local scene suffers from a divide, as of the approximately 12 million Chinese Catholics, there are those who belong to the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, supported by the government, which is outside the authority of the pope, and others who follow an underground church loyal to the highest figure of religion.
Clandestine priests and parishioners are often arrested and persecuted – and the aim of the agreement was to bring audiences together, even though clandestine believers consider it a betrayal of loyalty to the pope.
A debate ensued, in which China denies participation in actions aimed at stealing trade or sensitive secrets, claiming to be, in fact, a recurring victim, which is countered by the United States, which declares to track activities.