HomeGlobal Defence UpdatesChinese hackers target critical security infra of resource rich Kazakhstan

Chinese hackers target critical security infra of resource rich Kazakhstan

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China has not spared its emerging economic partner and Central Asia’s richest nation Kazakhstan with its hackers penetrating the telecom sector of the region’s biggest country.

Kazakhstan’s National Computer Emergency Response Team (Cert.kz), has recently alleged that a group of Chinese hackers had access to the infrastructure of Kazakhstani telecommunication operators for two years, according to persons familiar with the development. Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Defence and the country’s national airline may have been one of the targets.

At least one Chinese hacker group had full access to the critical infrastructure of Kazakhstani telecommunication operators in the past two years. The Kazakh Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry Ministry said in a statement on 20 February 2024 that it has, together with the National Security Committee, (KNB), begun analyzing the leaked information to learn more.

Besides fossil fuel resource rich Kazakhstan is being targeted by China to source Lithium, a critical element to power EVs. Kazakhstan is positioning itself as an important potential global supplier of high-quality lithium. Kazakhstan’s National Geological Service has provided a more exact estimate of lithium reserves, around 75,600 tons.

In recent years, Kazakhstan has also seen a steady growth in China’s demand for its organic and environmentally friendly agricultural produce. But Kazakhstan is also keen to increase trade with India via the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC).

Kazakhstan’s Prime Minister Olzhas Bektenov travelled to Moscow to attend a meeting on March 4 with the Prime Minister of PM, Mikhail Mishustin.High on the agenda was INSTC and in particular, the section of railway interlinking Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Iran. Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan route is the one of the branches of INSTC to connect India with Eurasia.Russia and Kazakhstan are connected by the longest land border in the world spanning over 7,500 km. Noting that “the most important transit routes in Eurasia run through our countries”, the Russian prime minister highlighted the huge potential for cooperation in transport and logistics.

In February, Kazakhstan’s Deputy Minister of Transport, Maksat Kaliakparov reported on plans by the railway administrations of Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan to launch a joint venture to improve services and reduce cargo delivery time along the INSTC.

In 2023 the volume of cargo transported via this route amounted to 2.1 million tons; an increase of 4% compared to 2022. By 2027, the transport potential of the entire corridor will rise to between 6 – 10 million tons per year.

To maintain progress and facilitate transit between the two countries, the Kazakh prime minister stressed the need to speed up work on checkpoints on the Kazakh-Russian border. According to plans, 29 of the 30 checkpoints are due to be modernized by 2027.

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