The Czech Republic’s intelligence agency said Tuesday Russian and Chinese spies posed an imminent threat to the EU member’s security and other key interests last year.
In its annual report, the Security Information Service (BIS) said the intelligence services of Russia and China played an important role in promoting their interests abroad.
“The key difference is that Russia seeks to destabilise and disintegrate its opponents, while China is trying to build a Sinocentric global community wherein other nations acknowledge the legitimacy of China’s interests,” BIS said.
All Russian intelligence services were active on Czech territory in 2019. Spies with a diplomatic cover focused on promoting Russia’s interests and the Kremlin’s views, as well as boosting Russia’s reputation in the Czech Republic.
Chinese spies used covers as diplomats, journalists or scientists and “used the openness of the Czech environment to the offer of Chinese investment,” BIS said.
They targeted the tech sector, the military, security, infrastructure, the health sector, the economy and environmental protection and looked for ways to create a favourable portrait of China.
BIS added that foreign spies also targeted Czech cyberspace with attacks aimed at the foreign ministry and diplomatic missions abroad, but also the infrastructure of Czech anti-virus software maker Avast.
It said Russian and Chinese services were behind these attacks, adding that phishing and spear-phishing emails were the most frequently used tactic.