×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

China’s Hackers to Target U.S. Entertainment Industry, Security Firm Warns

Soft power strategy makes film biz a target for spying, says cybersecurity firm

A new report from cybersecurity firm FireEye warns that the U.S. film and entertainment industries could come under cyberattack from Chinese hackers intent on undermining companies’  content, technology and internal communications.

China’s Soft Power Strategy and Cyber Intrusions: What Hollywood Should Know,” due to be officially published next week, posits that Chinese authorities see U.S. domination of filmed entertainment as a strategic advantage for America, and want that advantage for China.

We judge that links between China’s soft power strategy (in this case, their cultural means of influence) and its designation of ‘creative industries’ as strategic, provides the motivation for groups to commit cyber espionage,” says the report.

Of course, FireEye sells threat protection and stands to gain financially if the entertainment industry invests in cyber-security.

But cybersecurity expert Hemanshu Nigam, founder of SSP Blue, says China’s cyber threat to the entertainment industry is already well known. “When your’e doing business with a country or company that has very different beliefs than the American value system, there’s always a chance this kind of thing can happen,” Nigam told Variety.

Both economic and political motives will drive China to target the entertainment industry for hacking, says the report. That could range from hacking executives’ emails for business intelligence to stealing expertise and technology to interfering with productions the Chinese authorities disapprove of. It even warns that there could be insiders planted within Hollywood companies to identify and monitor “entities or individuals China can consider threatening or friendly to its soft power interests.”

The FireEye report cites a the example of a U.S. documentary crew shooting “a small documentary about Tibet” called “State of Control.” The production suffered “persistent cyber disruptions” that reportedly included “cell phone surveillance, exploited laptops, data destruction and website malfunctions.”

FireEye’s assessment assumes that China’s own entertainment industry will do the bidding of the government. In fact, while Chinese authorities are are interested in exporting entertainment to the world as a way of building soft power, Chinese producers have been interested in the escalating profits from films targeted at China’s fast-growing domestic market. As a result, Chinese pictures generally don’t travel well.

Nigam warned that there is growing danger of content theft as more and more content is put online. “China has shown itself to be a haven for pirates and a huge marketplace for piracy,” said Nigam. “It’s not a new area but it will continue to grow because of the interconnectedness of the world and because people in China will look for ways to hack, attack and steal.”

Nigam argues that stronger government-to-government interactions are vital to controlling that problem. “There’s a feeling in the hacker community that ‘We can do this, we can get away with this. Who can do anything about it?'”

More Digital

  • Google Stadia is a Net Neutrality

    Google Stadia is a Net Neutrality Nightmare

    At the Game Developers Conference (GDC) this year, Google announced that it has taken up the long and ever-lengthening dream of the video game streaming service. Meant to replace the hefty, pricey, altogether confounding experience of buying and using various gaming hardware, Google Stadia will run video games on Google’s own hardware in a server [...]

  • crunchyroll logo

    Crunchyroll Raises Subscription Price to $7.99

    AT&T-owned anime subscription video service Crunchyroll is raising its monthly subscription price from $6.95 to $7.99 a month, it announced in an email to members Friday. It’s the service’s first price increase ever, according to a spokesperson. The new pricing will go into effect on May 1 for new subscribers, while existing members will see [...]

  • StyleHaul

    StyleHaul Shuts Down U.S. Operations, Lays Off About 65 Employees

    The axe is falling on StyleHaul: The fashion, beauty and lifestyle digital media and marketing company owned by RTL Group is shuttering U.S. operations, resulting the layoff of around 65 employees. StyleHaul offices in L.A., with about 55 employees, and in New York City, with around 10 staffers, are closing. RTL said StyleHaul’s U.K. operations, [...]

  • Bandsintown Platform Acquires Hypebot, MusicThinkTank

    Bandsintown Platform Acquires Hypebot, MusicThinkTank

    Bandsintown, a leading platform for letting music fans know about upcoming concerts by their favorite artists, has acquired Hypebot, a news site publishing stories about the music industry and technology, and its sister site MusicThinkTank. “I’m proud to share that Hypebot and MusicThinkTank have been acquired by Bandsintown,” wrote Bruce Houghton, the founder of the [...]

  • Star-Wars-The-Clone-Wars

    Netflix Will Lose Disney's 'Star Wars: The Clone Wars,' James Bond Movies in April 2019

    More Disney content is about to roll off Netflix: The 2008 “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” animated movie as well as six seasons of the subsequent “Clone Wars” series are among the titles set to leave the streaming service next month. According to Netflix, the original Lucasfilm movie along with “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” [...]

  • Vertigo Games Believes ‘Location-Based Virtual Reality’

    Vertigo Games Believes ‘Location-Based Virtual Reality’ Is Future of VR

    As virtual reality becomes more and more available, many developers are looking for new frontiers to expand the experiences offered by the tech. For Netherlands-based Vertigo Games, that next frontier is what they call “location-based virtual reality.” It’s essentially high-quality VR experiences where players aren’t tethered to a PC or even to the confines of [...]

  • GDC 2019: Google's Play For Gaming

    GDC 2019: Google's Play for Gaming Ubiquity, Rise of Ray Tracing, Store Wars

    The Game Developers Conference finished up Friday evening, wrapping one of the most exciting GDCs in recent memory with Google’s splashy entrance into AAA video gaming, the emergence of real-time ray tracing as a compelling technology for film, TV, and games, and the growing war between two global estore powerhouses: Valve’s Steam and the Epic [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content