Tag Archives: Southeast Asia

Fact Check : US Growler Planes Blocked By Chinese Jamming

Fact Check : US Withdraws After Chinese Jamming Attacks?

Did the US Navy withdraw from the South China Sea after Chinese jamming attacks on their planes?

Find out what’s going on, and what the FACTS really are…


Claim : US Navy Withdraws After Chinese Jamming Attacks!

This was the Chinese article that went viral with Chinese netizens and Sinophiles sharing it excitedly in July 2020.

It was allegedly translated into English by Hong Kong-based analyst, Thomas Wing Polin, whose translation was widely circulated on social media

It is this English translation that has begun circulating again on social media, after tensions rose between the US and China.

Just now, the U.S. fighter plane flew over the South China Sea again.
Unexpectedly, it lost control halfway, and the U.S. finally admitted one thing.

Just now, the US CNBC website reported that several US Growler electronic warplanes were mysteriously attacked when they flew to the South China Sea again. These warplanes were all out of control midway, but these warplanes were out of control for only a few seconds. Then the US military ordered the request. All fighters over the South China Sea withdrew.

In this regard, the United States was at a loss as to why this happened. Finally, they mobilized reconnaissance satellites to discover that many electronic jamming devices appeared on the islands and reefs in the South China Sea. It was these devices that caused the short-term loss of control of the U.S. fighter planes. According to the pilots, when they were attacked electronically, all the instruments in the cabin were chaotic. The fighter planes were completely out of control and could not communicate with the outside world, but they did not know what happened.

After the accident, the United States negotiated with my country, demanding that my country dismantle the electronic equipment immediately, but it was rejected. These electronic devices are an important part of my country’s maritime defense and are not offensive weapons. Therefore, the US military’s request for dismantling is unreasonable. So why does this electronic device make the United States so afraid? First of all, it is an electronic jamming device that can cut off the enemy’s radio system. The attacked fighter will be out of control. Since it cannot be controlled, these fighters will soon crash.

The second is that its attack method is unpredictable. Compared with conventional air defense missiles, electronic jamming systems are more concealed. Because its attack method interferes with the radio, enemy fighter planes are often hit inadvertently. At the same time, this type of attack is almost impossible to intercept. That’s why the US military asks my country to dismantle these weapons.

On the same day, Swift, the former commander of the US Pacific, finally admitted that the US military had lost the best time to control the South China Sea. He believes that China has deployed a large number of Hongqi 9 air defense missiles, H6K fighter jets, and electronic jamming systems on islands and reefs. The defense can be said to be solid. If US fighter jets rush into the South China Sea, they are likely to encounter “Waterloo.”

In fact, since the construction of China’s island and reef defense began, the living space of US military fighters and warships has been shrinking. If China continues to develop like this, the United States will not have any chance of winning.

Whether it is islands or reefs or electronic jamming systems, these are part of our national defense system. According to the US military, my country’s electronic jamming system has covered more than half of the South China Sea. It can be seen from this that American fighters must be careful when entering the South China Sea.


US Navy Withdraws After Chinese Jamming : A Fantasy

That Chinese article was given some legitimacy after it was posted in Asia Times by Pepe Escobar.

However, it is COMPLETELY BOGUS, and is yet another example of Chinese propaganda warfare. Here are the facts…

Fact #1 : There Is No Such CNBC Report

A quick check on any search engine will show that CNBC never published a report on US Growler planes being attacked by Chinese jamming.

Fact #2 : No US Growler Planes Ever Lost Control From Chinese Jamming

No US EA-18G Growler planes ever lost control to Chinese jamming.

The Americans first detected Chinese jamming during USS Theodore Roosevelt’s deployment to the Philippines in 2018.

One EA-18G Growler pilot confirmed it in an interview with GMA News Online, but pointed out that they were not in danger :

The mere fact that some of your equipment is not working is already an indication that someone is trying to jam you. And so we have an answer to that.

A EA-18G Growler, XE 573 166857 of the VX-9 “Vampires” cruises over the desert during a mission. Shot 3/11/2009. RMS 227040

Fact #3 : EA-18G Growler Is An Electronics Warfare Aircraft

The Boeing EA-18G Growler is a two-seat electronics warfare aircraft, designed to jam enemy radar and electronics.

While the Growler is still vulnerable to powerful ground jamming, it is the worst aircraft for the Chinese to attack electronically because it’s the American aircraft most able to defend against, and respond to, a jamming attack.

Hence, the pilot’s response – “We have an answer to [Chinese jamming]“.

Fitted with a multitude of jamming pods and electronics, its electronics warfare officer can counter-jam Chinese radar and communications in the area.

And if they are ever in real danger, the pilot can fire an AGM-88 HARM (High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile) to destroy the Chinese jammer.

But perhaps that’s also the reason why the Chinese chose to attack the EA-18G Growler in 2018 – it was the aircraft best able to withstand such an attack.

Fact #4 : It Is Illegal To Jam Any Aircraft In International Airspace

While China has the right to jam foreign military aircraft entering its airspace without permission, the Chinese do not have the right to jam any aircraft, military or civilian, flying in international airspace.

While a jamming attack is not an act of war like firing a missile or shooting shells at the aircraft, it is still a hostile, provocative act that could result in the loss of aircraft and aircrew.

Needless to say – it is illegal for for anyone to electronically interfere with aircraft flying in international space, even if they are EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft.

No nation that claims to be peaceful would behave so recklessly.

Fact #5 : China Pledged Not To Militarise The Spratlys

Back in 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping declared that China has no intention to militarise the Spratly islands :

Relevant construction activity that China is undertaking in the Nansha Islands does not target or impact any country and there is no intention to militarise.

President Xi Jinping also reiterated that China is “committed to freedom of navigation in the sea” and to “resolving disputes through dialogue“.

The presence of military jamming equipment in 2018 though would suggest that President Xi was lying, or has no control of what really goes on in the South China Sea.

It doesn’t help that the writer specifically pointed out how China has militarised those islands :

Since the construction of China’s island and reef defense began, the living space of US military fighters and warships has been shrinking. If China continues to develop like this, the United States will not have any chance of winning.

Fact #6 : Jammers Are Offensive Weapons

The claim that electronic jammers are defensive weapons is nonsensical. Electronic jamming is an offensive capability.

Imagine if your neighbour used an electronic jammer to disrupt your Wi-Fi network, claiming that he has the right to defend his own Wi-Fi network. Which court in the world would agree with him?

The Chinese author of that fantasy piece actually debunks his own claim that jammers are defensive weapons, noting that “it is an electronic jamming device that can cut off the enemy’s radio system. The attacked fighter will be out of control. Since it cannot be controlled, these fighters will soon crash.

Does that sound like a defensive weapon to you? Serious lack of logic and common sense.

Russian Krasukha ground jamming system

Fact #7 : Electronic Jammers Do Not Affect Flight Controls

While electronic jammers can suppress or disrupt radar and communications, they cannot render an aircraft uncontrollable.

Airplanes will not crash simply because they lose radar and communications. Planes that lose radar and communications can still fly…

So the claim that Chinese jammers caused the Growler planes to almost crash is ludicrous.

Fact #8 : Chinese Jammers Do Not Cover Half The South China Sea

While the writer claims that the US military acknowledged that China’s electronic jamming system has covered more than half of the South China Sea, this is yet another fantasy.

The Chinese only deployed military jamming equipment to several artificial islands they created on Mischief Reef and Fiery Cross.

And as powerful as ground-based jamming can be, their effectiveness is greatly reduced by range. That’s why China launched their Xi’an H-6G airborne jamming aircraft in 2018.

These long-range jamming aircraft would not be necessary if China is already capable of jamming electronics across such a vast distance.

Xian H-6G jamming bomber

Fact #9 : The United States Did Not Withdraw

The United States did not withdraw from the South China Sea in July 2020, as claimed by the article.

In fact, they sent two aircraft carriers – USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan – together with their battle groups into the South China Sea just before the Chinese article was published.

It was the first time two carrier groups operated together in the South China Sea since 2009. The third US carrier – USS Theodore Roosevelt – was also nearby, in the Philippine Sea.

The US Navy Chief of Information left no doubt that the two carriers were there to assert that the South China Sea are international waters, not Chinese waters.

Not did it withdraw in April 2021 when the same article went viral again.

In April 2021, the US Navy posted this famous photo of the captain and executive officer of USS Mustin (DDG-89) –  an Arleigh Burke guided missile destroyer watching the Liaoning carrier group in the Philippine Sea.

The photo left no doubt that the US Navy was not going anywhere, and would shadow Chinese naval forces wherever they are in the South China Sea… and beyond.


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Natalya Kaspersky : Data Leaks In Southeast Asia & Globally

InfoWatch, the Russian cybersecurity and data loss prevention pioneer, just announced that they have set-up their first Southeast Asian base here in Kuala Lumpur. InfoWatch Group President Natalya Kaspersky flew in to make the announcement at IFSEC South East Asia 2017, and share the new InfoWatch report on data leaks in Southeast Asia.


Natalya Kaspersky & InfoWatch

Natalya Kaspersky is not just the Group President of InfoWatch, she was also the co-founder of Kaspersky Lab. She is a very influential figure in the Russian IT industry, and one of the wealthiest women in Russia.


InfoWatch SEA Base In Kuala Lumpur

The key announcement at IFSEC South East Asia 2017 is the establishment of the first InfoWatch South East Asia base in Kuala Lumpur under Vladimir Shutemov, the InfoWatch Labs Chief International Business Development Officer.

Based out of an office in the Ilham Tower, InfoWatch SEA will be a 10-12 strong team primarily focused on sales and marketing in Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. During our informal chat, Natalya revealed that Malaysia was a natural choice because of her past experience with Kaspersky Lab in Malaysia.

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Data Leaks In South East Asia

The InfoWatch Analytical Center has been releasing global data leak reports on a biannual basis since 2007. And now, for the first time, they released a data leak report specifically for South East Asia.

This report is based on over 10,000 cases that have been publicly announced. Although that only represents 1% of all data leaks globally. the report gives us a valuable statistical sample of the data for analysis.

The new InfoWatch focus on South East Asia will help companies in this burgeoning region prevent data leaks from within their organisations.

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Microsoft SIR : APAC Vulnerable To Malware In 2017

7 February 2017 – Microsoft today marked “Safer Internet Day” with regional findings from the Microsoft SIR (Security Intelligence Report), Volume 21, a twice yearly report that provides unique insights into the threat landscape to help organizations learn about trend data in industry vulnerabilities, exploits, malware and web-based attacks.

The Microsoft SIR report, released in December last year, identified Asia Pacific markets, especially the emerging ones, as among those at the highest risk of cybersecurity threats. Three out of the top five global spots for rate of malware encounters in the region. Malaysia placed 11th amongst the top markets in Asia Pacific under malware threats. Furthermore, Malaysia reported a malware encounter rate of more than 27.6%, compared to the worldwide encounter rate of 20.8 percent during the same period.

Two of the top five locations across the globe most at risk of infection included neighbouring countries Vietnam and Indonesia. Other top markets under malware threats include large developing markets and Southeast Asia countries – Mongolia, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Cambodia, the Philippines, Thailand and India – each with encounter rates of more than 30 percent.

However, markets in the region with higher levels of IT maturity such as Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore have displayed malware encounter rates that are below the worldwide average, highlighting the diverse cybersecurity landscape in the Asia Pacific.

Top Markets in the Asia Pacific under Malware Threats in the Microsoft SIR :

  1. Mongolia
  2. Vietnam
  3. PakistanIndonesia
  4. Nepal and Bangladesh
  5. Cambodia
  6. Philippines
  7. Thailand
  8. India
  9. Sri Lanka
  10. Malaysia
  11. Taiwan
  12. China
  13. Singapore
  14. Hong Kong
  15. South Korea
  16. Australia
  17. New Zealand
  18. Japan


Top Encountered Malware in Asia Pacific

The Microsoft SIR report showed that the top most encountered malicious software families in Malaysia include:

  • Gamarue, a worm which can give a malicious hacker control of your PC, steal information and change PC security settings;
  • Lodbak, a trojan that is usually installed on removable drives by Gamarue, and which attempts to install Gamarue when the infected removable drive is connected to a computer; and Peals is a generic detection for various threats that display trojan characteristics.

In particular, Gamarue, the most commonly encountered non-generic threat was encountered by 3.3 percent of computers. This worm is commonly distributed via exploit kits and social engineering and can also be attached to spam mails.
Gamarue’s variants, can give a malicious hacker control of the infected computers and have been observed stealing information from the devices and communicating with command-and-control (C&C) servers managed by attackers. Gamarue also makes unwanted and malicious changes to the local computer’s security settings.

Jasmine Begum, Director, Corporate External & Legal Affairs (CELA), Microsoft Malaysia said, “With increasing malware encounters and sophistication of cyberattacks, cybersecurity is becoming a mission critical priority for most organizations. It generally takes an average up to 200 days for organizations to find out that they have been breached. With no sign of abatement in the future, what companies need is a Secure Modern Enterprise posture, which involves well-integrated “Protect-Detect-Respond” investments and capabilities, with a strategic focus on the core pillars – Identity, Apps, Data, Infrastructure and Devices. Additionally, organizations should also strongly consider adopting trusted cloud-based services to enjoy the highest levels of data protection, leveraging the cloud provider’s enterprise-grade security and privacy expertise, assurances and certifications.”

Security teams should also keep abreast of changes in the threat landscape brought about by emergence of cloud computing. The latest report contains an expanded Featured Intelligence section that includes a deep dive section on Protecting cloud infrastructure: detecting and mitigating threats using Azure Security Center. This section details new threats that organizations may encounter and explains how they can use Azure Security Center to protect, detect, and respond to security threats against Azure cloud-based resources.

Some of the new cloud-targeted threats outlined in the Microsoft SIR are:

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  • Pivot back attacks, which occurs when an attacker compromises a public cloud resource to obtain information that they then use to attack the resource provider’s on-premises environment
  • “Man in the Cloud” attacks, in which an attacker induces a prospective victim to install a piece of malware using a typical mechanism, such as an email with a link to a malicious website. It then switches out the user’s cloud storage synchronization token with the attacker’s token, allowing the attacker to receive copies of each file the user places in cloud storage. This effectively makes the attacker a “man in the middle” for cloud storage.
  • Side-channel attacks, where an attacker attempts to put a virtual machine on the same physical server as the intended victim. If he succeeds, the attacker will be able to launch local attacks against the victim. These attacks might include local DDoS, network sniffing, and man-in-the-middle attacks, all of which can be used to extract information.
  • Resource ransom, where attackers hold cloud resource hostage by breaking into and controlling public cloud account, and then requiring the victim to pay a ransom to release encrypted or restricted resources.

Organizations need to ensure they have a robust cybersecurity posture to withstand and respond effectively to most cyberattacks and malware infections.

Five best practices for improving defence against cybersecurity threats are:

  • Ensure strong fundamentals: Use only genuine, current and updated software. The usage of IT assets which are old, unprotected, or are non-genuine in nature, substantially increase the chances for a cyberattack. For example, pirated and counterfeit software are known to come with embedded malware infections.
  • Focus on cyber hygiene: Poor cyber hygiene of IT users, negligent employee behaviour or weak credentials/password protection within an organization, adds a high degree of vulnerability for system compromise. With more and more personal devices being used at the workplace, the higher the chance they are infected.
  • Have a data culture: Develop a big data analytics culture involving data classification, multifactor authentication, encryption, rights management, machine learning for behavioural analytics and log analytics to spot user anomalies and irregular or suspicious patterns, which could provide potential clues in advance to prevent impending or ongoing security breaches.
  • Invest in a robust cyber defence ecosystem and monitor all systems in real time: Invest in trusted security solutions and modern threat protection technologies to monitor, detect and remove common and advanced cyber threats in real time, while developing in-house expertise to undertake threat analytics.
  • Regular assessment, review and audit: Be comprehensive on all aspects of cybersecurity, not just technology. Have a IT trusted supply chain across cloud, software, hardware, Internet of Things, BYOD (bring your own device) and regularly review and assess cybersecurity investments and performance of both software and hardware deployment, including customer and vendor access to the corporate network.

Resources like the Microsoft SIR (Security Intelligence Report) are just one aspect of the Microsoft comprehensive approach to security – including a holistic platform, unique intelligence and broad partnerships – which is critical to enabling the digital transformation of leading organizations in Asia.

As part of Microsoft’s commitment to building trust in technology in the region, it launched its first combined Transparency Center and Cybersecurity Center in October 2016. Located in Singapore, the joint facility brings together Microsoft capabilities in a single location in Asia Pacific, to serve the security needs of the public and private sector and foster the building of a trusted and secure computing environment.

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Malaysia Hosts IMGA SEA Competition

Kuala Lumpur, 17 June 2016 – After success in two continents, the team behind the hugely successful International Mobile Gaming Awards (IMGA) has announced it is to host the first-ever mobile games competition in Southeast Asia on 8 November 2016, in partnership with Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC).

Hasnul Hadi Samsudin, Director of Creative Content & Technology division at MDEC said, “We are thrilled to play host to this global event and we are proud to partner with IMGA. This collaboration is another testament to Malaysia’s commitment to become the leading ASEAN hub for games development and we hope that this event will raise more awareness on the quality of our local talents including the robust regional and local games industry.”



Coming on the heels of IMGA celebrating their 12th annual awards ceremony in San Francisco, IMGA SEA awards will mark the first year that the awards are handed out in Southeast Asia, recognising talents from the fast growing and blooming markets of the region.

Commenting on the new event, Maarten Noyons, Founder of the IMGA said, “Southeast Asia is rightly held up around the world as a hotbed of mobile gaming talent, showing tremendous download and revenue growth year-on-year. As all eyes look to Asia, we are proud to bring IMGA here to celebrate this creative and exciting industry, and can’t wait to see what we ultimately unveil from the community during our ceremony event.”

The call for entries is now open. Malaysian mobile games studios, indie developers, publishers involved in any aspect of the creation of mobile games are invited to submit their game until 30 September 2016 on sea.imgawards.com/submit-your-game. After an online pre-selection, the panel will select the winners during the final judging session in an intensive multi-day private roundtable held in Penang in early November. Winners will be announced on 8th November and listed online.

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