Activist Drew Pavlou’s hacked emails are putting vulnerable Uighurs at risk

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Human rights activist, Drew Pavlou, has been the target of Chinese hackers who accessed his private email account and may have ­obtained the identity of vulnerable Uighurs with whom he has been in contact, The Australian reports.

The breach was confirmed by cyber security experts from Internet 2.0 who laid a trap for the hackers by planting false information in the account – a fake book contract said to be worth $350,000.

According to The Australian, the exact figure soon found its way into a social media post by a pro-Beijing activist group, Critical Social Work Publishing House, which is run by two Australians, Jaqueline “Jaq” James and Milton James.

Drew Pavlou has been the target of Chinese hackers who accessed his private email account.

It is unclear exactly how Critical Social Work Publishing House obtained the figure that was planted in Mr Pavlou’s email. Milton and Jaqueline James did not respond to repeated ­requests for comment.

Mr Pavlou suspects information obtained from his hacked emails resulted in Chinese authorities detaining the mother of an Australia-based Uighur he had interviewed for a research project.

Shortly after the anti-China ­activist was initially hacked, she was tracked down and sent to a ­re-education facility in Xinjiang by Chinese authorities.

Mr Pavlou said when he ­realised the potential gravity of the situation, he “wanted to vomit… The possibility that a Uighur Australian’s family member may have been taken to one of these incarceration camps because they were friends with me and talking with me is really scary.”

Drew Pavlou is a prominent activist.

“That’s something that weighs on my conscience so much, and I still feel so sick about it.”

Whilst cyber security experts from Internet 2.0 said the attack could not be confirmed to have come from a state-sponsored actor, Mr Pavlou is certain the hacking was undertaken by state-sponsored actors with the information passed on to pro-China activists.

“This is a very clear case of Chinese interference in Australian democracy. They’re deliberately trying to undermine the credibility and genuinely attack and smear anti-CCP critics in Aus­tralia,” Mr Pavlou told the newspaper.

Source: The Australian.

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