A Chinese software firm that allegedly provides intelligence to the Chinese government has been collecting data from Americans - including prominent public figures and military leaders - since 2017.
Shenzhen Zhenhua Data Technology has gathered online data and social media on more than two million people worldwide including that of 50,000 Americans for the suspected purpose of providing intelligence to Chinese military, government and commercial clients, according to Australian cybersecurity consultancy Internet 2.0.
The revelation comes after the consultancy gained access to and analyzed a copy of Zhenhua's database - called the Overseas Key Information Database or OKIDB - after it was left unsecured online.
A Chinese software firm that allegedly provides intelligence to the Chinese government has been collecting data from Americans - including prominent public figures and military leaders - since 2017. Pictured President Xi Jinping
Internet 2.0 downloaded and reconstructed about 10 percent of Zhenhua's database, the consultancy's founder Robert Potter and independent researcher Christopher Balding told the Washington Post.
The OKIDB was found to contain information on more than two million people, including at least 50,000 Americans and tens of thousands of people in prominent public positions including political, military, and business leaders.
This trove of data includes biographies and service records of aircraft carrier captains in the US Navy, profiles and family maps of foreign leaders, and social media activity from overseas US military installations, reported the Post which obtained part of the database from the consultancy.
There is no evidence that the data is currently being used by the Chinese government.
However, Zhenhua's marketing and recruiting documents describe the firm as patriotic and the military as its primary target customer, according to the Post.
As well as concerns the data is being passed to Beijing officials, Zhenhua also counts tech firms TRS and Huarong as well as state-owned company Global Tone Communication Technology among its corporate partners.
Balding said the database shows