Fletcher Student Jeff Qiu’s Cautionary Tale in the Wake of China’s Data Breach
When an anonymous hacker claimed responsibility in June for stealing the records of one billion Chinese citizens, Fletcher student Jeff Qiu saw it as an opportunity to shed light on the workings of China’s cybersecurity systems.
When an anonymous hacker claimed responsibility in June for stealing the records of one billion Chinese citizens from the Shanghai Police Department’s database – possibly one of the largest personal data leaks in history -- Fletcher Cybersecurity and Public Policy Master’s candidate Jeff Qiu saw it as an opportunity to shed light on the workings of China’s cybersecurity systems. He also saw it as a cautionary tale for the U.S. government.
In his article “What China’s One Billion Person Data Leak Tells Us about Government Cybersecurity,” published July 20 on the R Street website, Qiu outlines the nature of the U.S. government’s vulnerabilities. He maintains that although mechanisms are in place to make it difficult for a similar incident to happen here, exploitable weaknesses in cybersecurity processes exist and ought to be addressed.
“They could be minimized or eliminated by expanding cybersecurity programs that include state and local governments and developing a larger, better-trained and better-equipped cybersecurity workforce,” he said.
Qiu’s position as research associate with the R Street Institute Cybersecurity and Emerging Threats team was made possible through the Cybersecurity Policy Summer Fellowship Program, which supports up to three Tufts students working on cybersecurity policy matters within civil society organizations. The R Street Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, public policy research organization that works extensively on both state and national policy issues, specializing in complex issues that often fail to make major headlines.
Susan Landau, Bridge Professor in Cybersecurity and Policy at The Fletcher School, explained the fellowships are available to all Tufts students – undergraduates, graduate, and professional school students -- though preference is given to students with academic backgrounds related to cybersecurity policy, including computer science, international relations, law, and political science.
“Thanks to the powerful censorship regime in China,” Qiu remarked, “one of the biggest personal data leaks in the history of the internet may soon be forgotten, but the lessons on how to improve government cybersecurity should not.”
For more information about Fletcher's Master's in Cybersecurity and Public Policy program, please visit here.