Look at this, sir,” calls out Petty Officer First Class Lin, an analyst for the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s 324th cyber intelligence unit. “A USS Lake Champlain sailor just tweeted a complaint that their port call to Darwin, Australia, is delayed. He’s upset he’s had to pay a hotel cancellation fee.”
“Excellent, Lin; update the tracker,” Lieutenant Shen replies, looking at a large-screen display of the South Pacific. For years, the 324th has been tracking U.S. ships and aircraft and monitoring the activities of Department of Defense (DoD) personnel ashore, providing their intelligence community with critical information to be somehow exploited.
“Hold on!” calls a voice from the other side of the room. “I’ve got Facebook posts from a wife bragging about her Tasmanian vacation; she says she’s watching her husband’s ship pull into Hobart. And an Instagram page seems to be showing the ship live in the Solomon Islands!”