Why China is expanding espionage activities in the Middle East

China has hacked multiple public and private sector groups of Israel in an attempt to gain business interests, a local media report said on Tuesday. The Chinese cyberattacks have been doing the same thing in Iran, Saudi Arabia and a variety of other countries.

The massive cyberattack appears to be part of a long-term spying strategy in the area of technology and business competition and advancement, as opposed to any attempt to directly harm any of the target countries or businesses, The Jerusalem Post reported.

The daily cited cybersecurity firm FireEye to say Beijing used its cyber tools to spy on a wide array of Middle Eastern countries, which are often at odds with each other, while all do business with China, The Jerusalem Post reported.

The cybersecurity firm FireEye believes that the goal of hacking seems to gain intelligence into achieving better negotiation outcomes in terms of pricing by viewing internal email discussions and assessments, and to appropriate certain key technological developments where possible, The Jerusalem Post added.

In March, Chinese hackers reportedly attacked Australia’s Western parliamentary email network as a part of a massive global cyber-attack involving Microsoft software. The online strike, which was detected on March 4 in the middle of the state election campaign, prompted intervention from Australia’s cybersecurity watchdog in Canberra, reported Australian ABC.

The Trump administration in May 2020 said the hackers tied to Beijing attempted to steal information from researchers who were working to develop a Coronavirus vaccine. The US administration also believed that the threat was coming from “nontraditional actors” such as Chinese students and researchers in the US.