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Response to “Cybercrime in Suriname Increasingly More Aggressive”

I read the article “Cybercrime in Suriname Increasingly More Aggressive” (January 23rd 2020) by Mr. Sitaram with great interest. I’ve also noticed that it had some effect based on the publications that followed. However, I think that Mr. Sitaram is still too optimistic about the current state of affairs; I can assure you from my own experience that the situation is far worse than many people suspect.

The biggest threat in ‘society’, anywhere in the world, remains the criminal government — including when it comes to cybersecurity. Knocking on the doors of criminal government agencies asking for a solution is pointless. Globally they are the most guilty of spying on people and invading their privacy and have the most resources at their disposal for those purposes. Locally there have often been reports in the past of people’s communications being wiretapped. Mr. Guno Castelen, for example, pointed this out years ago. But we also see the same thing in other countries. Just think of what ex-CIA contractor Edward Snowden revealed not so long ago regarding the large-scale surveillance by the criminal American government. Especially the fact that the criminal American government (via Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple and other companies) has real-time access to private data and communications of users worldwide and that they also use it for blackmail. In China, the criminal government openly admits that all communications are monitored in real-time, and censored immediately where they consider it necessary.

Today it has only become easier for criminal governments to spy on everyone due to technological advancements. This is also the case locally and is getting worse with the import of the Chinese ‘Surveillance State’. Governments have an interest in keeping everyone weak and dependent; in other words, it is to their advantage if people cannot protect themselves against their attacks, and this also applies to cybersecurity. This explains why politicians in various countries (including the US, the UK and Australia (the Five Eyes) are calling for the use of encryption to be restricted and even for deliberate openings (‘back doors’) to be left in (hardware and software) systems through which they can still intercept people’s communications. In doing so, they always cite as reasons the “fight against terrorism” and the “protection of children”, and conveniently neglect to mention that they themselves are the biggest cause of terrorism and child abuse worldwide.

After the criminal governments, Internet Surveillance Providers (ISPs) pose the biggest threat in the area of cybersecurity. Apart from the fact that these companies are forced through ‘legislation’ to make espionage possible (article 33 of the “Telecommunications Act” 1), they often do not take the security of their customers serious. And if you think that the aforementioned espionage facilities are not (or cannot be) abused against you, you are extremely naïve.

Whereas people in other countries are very cautious nowadays with doing business with Chinese companies such as Huawei, we see that locally more and more projects are awarded to that company. This while Chinese companies are forced through Chinese ‘legislation’ to participate in the ‘counter-espionage’ activities of the criminal Chinese government. No wonder that some countries are now afraid to do business with Chinese companies because this poses a major cybersecurity risk. As I pointed out months ago, I wouldn’t be surprised if the criminal Chinese government is able to monitor all communications in Suriname via Telesur, probably even in real-time.

Finite State, a company specializing in cybersecurity research, released a safety evaluation of Huawei’s products in June 2019 and their findings are very negative. In their words, the results of their analysis show that “Huawei devices quantitatively pose a high risk to their users.” Not only did Huawei’s various hardware and software products turn out to be as leaky as a sieve, but the threat from the criminal Chinese government is also discussed in detail.

Is the criminal Surinamese government not aware of these facts, or do they see this as an advantage to be able to exercise even more control over the local population? The answer to these questions is not difficult; we only have to look at what happened last year in Uganda and Zambia. There the local criminal governments, along with the assistance of Huawei employees, hacked into the phones of leaders of opposition groups and were able to intercept all their encrypted communications via WhatsApp and Skype. This allowed them to stay one step ahead of the opposition. As an article from The Wall Street Journal (“Huawei Technicians Helped African Governments Spy on Political Opponents”) points out: “In one of the rooms at Uganda’s police headquarters, Huawei has its red logo affixed to the wall. “They teach us to use spyware against security threats and political enemies,” said one official at the unit.” Read the article completely and shudder at what is possible.

As Nathan Fraser said, “there are two kinds of people in the world: People who think the government is looking out for their best interest and people who think.” Be on your guard.

Footnotes

  1. Article 33 of the “Telecommunications Act” of Suriname states:

    INTERCEPTABILITY

    1. Each concession-holder shall ensure that the signals transported over its telecommunications infrastructure are interceptable before they are made available to a user.
    2. Rules concerning the technical interceptability of telecommunications infrastructure may be laid down by State decree.

    ↩︎

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