Chinese Government Attempts to Collect American DNA Data

Overwatch analysts are diving into the possible dangers of targeted genetic data collection. Entire nations can be disarmed with DNA surveillance or the creation of modern bioweapons, including fatal viruses that target specific genes. When millions of Americans utilized the mail-in DNA services of genealogy companies to learn about their ancestors, they knowingly gave their genetic data away. Is it possible that we are overlooking the risks of sharing our DNA with consumer-based genetic testing companies, especially as China aims to become the world’s bio-data leader?

In 2016, China announced a $9 billion project to collect and sequence genetic data, which is reportedly used for “a method designed to give individualized treatments based on genetic makeup, environmental, and lifestyle factors of individual patients.” This investment highlights that the Chinese government is interested in the health ramifications of ethnic gene isolations. The opposite of individualized treatments to improve health is individualized bioweapons that deteriorate health. “An adversary could develop a bioweapon that induces auto-immune diseases or avoids immune detection only in people with specific genetic variants,” according to Geneinfosec, a genetic information security firm.

For this brief, Overwatch analyzed China’s various attempts to obtain American DNA, as well as China’s history of targeting select groups of individuals to gather genetic data, specifically the Uyghurs. To acquire American genetic data, our research uncovered evidence that reveals China focuses on partnerships and investments with U.S. Medical Research Universities, biotech corporations, mail-order genetic testing companies, and Covid-19 testing facilities to retrieve American genetic data.

Theory of Biological Dominance

China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has refocused its strategy to embrace biology and genetic research development as of 2019. This is not surprising, given that the philosophy of biological warfare dominance was promoted through a series of Chinese literary works, including War for Biological Dominance, published in 2010 by China’s Third Military Medical University. The author’s claim that biotechnology will become central to national defense: from biomaterials to brain control weapons. According to the Washington Times, a similar notion was put into doctrine in the 2017 edition of the PLA National Defense University textbook, which discussed the potential for bioweapons with the capability of “specific ethnic genetic attacks.” This is significant because it reveals that the PLA has a strategic interest in the biological components of ethnic DNA for military and security purposes.

China’s History of Targeted Genetic Data Collection

China has a history of utilizing genetic data to target select groups of individuals. From 2016 to 2017, the Beijing Genomic Institution (BGI), a Chinese state-sponsored lab, was involved in the targeted collection of DNA samples and biometric data from the country’s Uyghur population under the false premise of a free health check. According to the New York Times, those who did not willingly give their genetic data were contacted by local authorities and were told a healthcare check was required. For decades, China has persecuted the Uyghur population, a predominantly Muslim minority community. In the past, the government has arrested hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs and placed them in detention camps where DNA collection is also conducted. Other targeted DNA collection efforts include:

In 2016, China required DNA samples from all Uyghurs needing travel documents.

In 2019, reports of the Chinese government developing technology to predict physical appearances based on the DNA collected from Uyghurs in Xinjiang province.

Beijing Genomic Institution office building in Shenzhen, China. Photo Credit: CGTN

American Genetic Data Collection

In 2019, The Pentagon advised military personnel not to take DNA tests by mail. Admiral John Richardson, the then Chief of Naval Operations, warned of scientific advances in DNA collection, which make biological weapons more tailorable. Similarly, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) warned that China prioritized collecting American healthcare data. This includes genomic data potentially used for nefarious purposes such as targeting military personnel, as China “already has a significant record of exploiting DNA for social control and surveillance of their Uyghur population.”

However, Chinese biotech companies, particularly WuXi healthcare and BGI, have found their way around the U.S. government warnings and successfully increased their involvement with American biotech institutions to access American DNA.

In 2011, BGI announced a partnership with the University of California, Davis, to establish a BGI Genetic Sequencing facility for immediate use. During this time, BGI also partnered with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to conduct a large-scale human genome sequencing and collection of bioinformatics.

In 2015, WuXi Healthcare invested in 23andMe. Direct-to-consumer genetic tests such as 23andMe allow consumers to identify genealogies and potential familial diseases.

In 2021, BGI partnered with Advaite, a Pennsylvania-based biotech company, to conduct the diagnostics of the Rapid Covid-19 test.

Also, in 2021, claims were made that BGI Genomics partnered with the Chinese military to harvest DNA samples from millions of women worldwide from prenatal testing kits. It is unclear how many American women participated or how much American DNA was gathered from this collection.

These partnerships show the clear roadmap that China continues to use to obtain American genetic data.

Our Assessment

The global pandemic in 2020 showed China and the rest of the globe the devastation that a health crisis may cause. Using genetic data to target nations, communities, and ethnic groups or create a bioweapon undetectable by the naked eye poses a significant threat to society. Any government that positions itself to become a pioneer in the field of biodata gives itself the potential to gain an immediate competitive advantage.

We assess that, if left unchecked, China will continue to pursue avenues to develop relationships with commercial corporations and research institutions in the U.S. to obtain health and DNA data. Consequently, if the U.S. Government ignore that corporations and medical institutes are sharing our DNA with China, future generations of Americans will be at a greater risk of genetic targeting, DNA surveillance, undetectable health problems, and genocide, just as the Uyghurs in China have. It is unclear whether American DNA companies have sold data to China directly. However, China’s military and government are increasingly interested in DNA collecting and sequencing through various means.

NFT Promoter Scams – One of Crypto’s Biggest Problems

On June 8, 2022, Devin Finzer, the co-founder and CEO of OpenSea, the world’s largest NFT marketplace, pledged to double OpenSea’s efforts to fight fraud and plagiarism.

Scammers frequently look for ways to defraud NFT project creators. One area that is endemic for NFT scams is NFT promoters on social media. While we cannot quantify the amount of money lost in NFT promoter scams as no open-source data set tracks that figure, analysts found multiple NFT promoter scams over our research. For this brief, we identified how people running NFT promoter scams operate and provided some strategies to help mitigate risk in the NFT space.

Our Use Case

Twitter, which has 330 million active monthly users, is frequently used by people involved in NFT promoter scams.

A person involved in an NFT promoter scam often pays for a Twitter profile with an established history and tens of thousands of followers. Our research suggests that those followers are mostly bots. One NFT promoter running a scam that we identified is Spoogy_NFT.

Spoogy_NFT set up his Twitter account to make it appear as legitimate as possible. First, he has a Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFT for his profile picture. A BAYC is worth about 135k USD. In addition, Spoogy_NFT lists himself as a Marketing Manager, and he claims he owns the 4,232nd BAYC NFT.

However, scrolling through Spoogy_NFT’s tweets shows that he has only tweeted 190 times, despite having an account with Twitter since 2011.

In addition, Spoogy_NFT has no public interaction on Twitter, which indicates Spoogy_NFT likely purchased his Twitter profile.

With our suspicions heightened through reviewing Spoogy_NFT’s social media activity, analysts reached out to him on Twitter to see what he charges for using his services.

Spoogy_NFT told us that he charges 0.222 ETH, which is, at the time of writing this brief, around $390.47. He also claimed to be well-connected in the NFT community. Spoogy_NFT said, “From the Telegram communities, I’ll bring people that will buy into your project, people I worked with before and with who I had good results as well. I want to be straight with you and let you know that I’m here to stay for the long term and not just for some posts, meaning unlimited time collaboration. I would like to make your project known in the NFT’s communities where I have influence as soon as possible so let me know when you are willing to start cooperating with me. I’m waiting for a feedback from you and hope we can get started!”

We told Spoogy_NFT that we would agree to his terms. However, when we asked him to sign an NDA before receiving his marketing services. Spoogy_NFT said, “Sure, but I’m not opening any file for security reasons.”

Spoogy_NFT said that we could send the NDA in a Jpeg format, and we would edit it and send it back. He wasn’t willing to go outside of Twitter for communication, suggesting a significant lack of transparency, which analysts note is typical for cybercriminals.

Because we wanted to identify more about how Spoogy_NFT’s scam works, we agreed to send him some cryptocurrency for his services. Spoogy_NFT provided us with his Bitcoin wallet address.

When analysts input the Bitcoin wallet address into an investigation tool, there was no history of transactions—having no activity with a wallet address for a person that does NFT promotions is exceptionally unusual. When we asked for a different wallet address, analysts continued to find no transactions to review. These findings suggest that Spoogy_NFT sets up a new wallet whenever he finds someone to defraud.

As we looked further into Spoogy_NFT, he had no digital footprint on the open web outside of Twitter.

We wanted a deeper analysis of Spoogy_NFT’s Twitter profile, so we used Sparktoro, which analyzes Twitter accounts for fake followers. Sparktoro returned results that show that 63.3% of Spoogy_NFT’s Twitter followers are fake.

Since the writing of this brief, Twitter suspended Spoogy_NFT’s profile.

Overwatch spoke with someone that Spoogy_NFT defrauded. That individual mentioned how Spoogy_NFT’s initial approach was “very professional,” but after he sent money to Spoogy_NFT, he was blocked from communicating with him. The victim said they were convinced that Spoogy_NFT was a legitimate promoter and that’s how he had set up his profile was persuasive. Because of that, the victim did not research Spoogy_NFT.

Analysts note that Spoogy_NFT is just one NFT promotion scam we identified. However, for the sake of brevity, we are only including one use case.

Things You Can Do and What to Look Out For

A basic Google search of a Twitter username or NFT can tell an investigator or consumer a lot about a project. If there is no digital footprint outside of one social media platform, that should give more cause for additional research.

If a Twitter account has tens of thousands of followers but only retweets profiles and doesn’t interact publicly, it suggests a lack of transparency from the account holder.

If the user tells you they want to conduct all business through direct messaging in conversation with the Twitter account holder, it further confirms a lack of transparency.

If you search the wallet address on a website like, and the wallet comes up with no transactions, it indicates that the person may be opening a new wallet each time they defraud a victim.

Additionally, you can copy and paste the Twitter handle into to get an analysis of the profile’s fake followers.


While Twitter suspended Spoogy_NFT, he could immediately purchase a new Twitter account and begin scamming victims again. Until Twitter has more robust security measures to identify bots and cryptocurrency scams, users like Spoogy_NFT will continue exploiting Twitter’s vulnerabilities. Twitter will likely not allocate significant resources to a problem like NFT promoter scams until a data set tracks how much money people are losing to this scam.

Additionally, with Twitter suspending Spoogy_NFT, he is likely to be more cautious with his criminal activity in the future. Analysts also assess that as the cryptocurrency market and NFT projects expand, cybercriminals will continue to identify loopholes and weaknesses to defraud their victims.

100 Days of War: Disinformation and Threats Against the West

100 Days of War: Disinformation and Threats Against the West

One hundred six days ago, the Russian state invaded Ukraine, destabilizing the region and isolating the world’s largest country. Within that time, Russia has been able to take control of 20% of Ukraine, is being investigated for war crimes, has caused an estimated $600 billion in infrastructure damage, and continues daily attacks in Ukraine.

Outside of Ukraine, Russia has launched multiple disinformation campaigns trying to discredit any source or government that challenges its narrative for invading Ukraine.

For this brief, Overwatch partnered with Olga Lautman, a Subject Matter Expert on Russia and Senior Fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA). Our research indicates that as the war continues, Russia will increase its disinformation efforts against the West, could potentially annex occupied territory in Ukraine, and tensions between the U.S. and Russia may escalate further.

Disinformation Efforts

In an interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta on April 26, 2022, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev claimed that the U.S. is forcing Russia to give up its sovereignty. Patrushev is a member of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle and has known the head of the Russian state since the 1970s when both were in the KGB.

Patrushev said, “The United States is doing everything to ensure that other centers of the multipolar world do not even dare to raise their heads, and our country not only dares but publicly declares that it will not play by the imposed rules. They tried to force Russia to give up its sovereignty, self-consciousness, culture, independent foreign and domestic policy.”

On May 11, 2022, the Chief of Russian Foreign Intelligence (SVR) Sergey Naryshkin said that the U.S. State Department is like the Nazi “propaganda machine” run by Reich Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels. Analysts note that this is the first time Naryshkin has publicly compared the U.S. to Nazi Germany.

On May 27, 2022, Russia’s Chief of Radiation, Chemical, and Biological Protection Force Igor Kirillov said that U.S. Biolabs in Nigeria needed to be investigated, claiming the monkeypox strain originated from Nigeria. Kirilov’s comments about monkeypox and the U.S. follow a similar pattern on how Russia blamed the U.S. for COVID-19.

On June 6, 2022, the Russian Embassy in the United Kingdom tweeted that the West aggravated the food crisis.

Additionally, we identified smaller-scale disinformation on VK (Russia’s version of Facebook). In a VK post on June 7, 2022, a user claimed that the Red Cross harvested organs in Mariupol, Ukraine.

The source of the claim:, is a website run by a dual U.S. and French Citizen with sympathies for the Russian state and the Chinese Communist Party. However, we haven’t seen Russian officials adopt this disinformation narrative.

Further, the Russian state has a pattern of spreading disinformation before a major election in the United States. Because of weakened U.S.-Russia relations resulting from U.S. support for Ukraine, Russia may launch a disinformation campaign before the midterm elections to exploit hot button political issues and attempt to sew distrust in the American electorate.

Russian troll farms also have a history of pushing disinformation on a large scale online, specifically, The Internet Research Agency, which was active in spreading disinformation on social media during the 2016 Presidential Election. The Internet Research Agency is also allegedly behind disinformation efforts with the Russia-Ukraine War.

Annexation of Ukrainian Territory

Before Russia’s invasion, we assessed how Russia could potentially annex the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk’s People’s Republic as a pretext for invading Ukraine. While Russia has not annexed any territory at this point other than Crimea in 2014, there are concerns that they could annex Kherson, which is in Southern Ukraine.

Russian forces have occupied Kherson since early March 2022. Since that time, there have been rumors of a referendum. In mid-March, we were in contact with a Ukrainian in Kherson, who said that “there will be no pseudo-republic.”

Despite his comments, things appear to be trending in that direction. For example, Kherson is now using the Russian ruble under Russian occupation.

Also, in a briefing on May 31, 2022, the State Department said, “As we approach the hundredth day of Russia’s war against Ukraine, we remain concerned about steps Russia is taking to attempt to institutionalize control over sovereign Ukrainian territory, particularly in Ukraine’s Kherson region.”

According to the Kherson Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Kherson’s is a leading producer of fruits, vegetables, and wheat in Ukraine. In addition, the “Kherson region is the territory with a well-developed agricultural industry. The region possesses about 2 million hectares of agricultural land, which is the greatest share of plowed fields in Ukraine.”

Threats to the West

The U.S. and European nations have provided Ukraine with significant military aid to date. The latest weaponry that the U.S. and U.K. will supply Ukraine with is long-range missiles capable of hitting long-range targets.

This development resulted in comments from Russian Security Council Deputy chairman Dmitry Medvedev, saying, “If God forbid, these weapons are used against Russian territory, then our armed forces will have no other choice but to strike decision-making centres. Of course, it needs to be understood that the final decision-making centres in this case, unfortunately, are not located on the territory of Kyiv.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin added, “We will strike at those targets which we have not yet been hitting.”


We assess that the Russia-Ukraine War will continue, with Russia amplifying disinformation narratives against the West. With surging fuel and gas prices globally, Russia could use its troll farms to launch an extensive disinformation campaign online, blaming the U.S. and Europe and causing social unrest in European or U.S. cities.

SVR Chief Sergey Naryshkin’s comments comparing the U.S. State Department to Nazi Germany’s Ministry of Propaganda shows an escalation in rhetoric from Russian intelligence against the U.S. government. However, with minimal relations between the U.S. and Russia, we don’t anticipate such rhetoric resulting in a significant response from the United States.

Should Russia annex Kherson, they will likely do the same with other occupied territories in Ukraine.

With the U.S. supplying advanced weapons to Ukraine, Russia could retaliate against the West through a cyber-attack or attacking a weapons delivery. Russia launching an attack on a NATO country would lead to a more significant conflict on the world stage, which it wouldn’t be able to sustain long-term with its military losses in Ukraine and heavily sanctioned economy back home.

Echo Analytics Group Announces Launch of TORCH



All Your Research Needs. One Single Platform 


TAMPA, FL (June 2, 2022) – Tampa based Echo Analytics Group (EAG) announced yesterday the launch of its new TORCH platform, designed to empower research professionals to organize, collaborate and enhance their research abilities.   This unique platform houses access to more than 800 data sets and analytics tools, as well as a case management system that makes organizing research simple. The new platform allows analysts and researchers the ability to not only conduct better fact-finding, but also gives them the tools and resources to combat the relentless amount of disinformation and misinformation impacting the ever-changing landscape in the world. 

Through open-source intelligence (OSINT), TORCH provides a streamlined research solution bringing together all the offerings EAG once provided as individual services. The TORCH Toolkit includes a dynamic and customizable library of tools to access publicly available data. TORCH includes a Case Manager feature that allows users to organize, collaborate and share their findings with other users, all in one location.   Also available in the TORCH platform is the TORCH Academy, a library of on-demand courses developed to enhance professional development.  

“One of the biggest challenges for me during my military career was deploying to Fallujah and having to quickly learn about an emerging adversary.  For a short time, I felt unprepared, and we had a lot of information but separating the facts from the noise was extremely difficult, it was not a good feeling.” said Buddy Jericho, CEO of Echo Analytics Group. “For that reason, I set out to build a company to help people who today are facing similar challenges in both the corporate world, law enforcement and private domain. The only difference now is that everything is online.  This launch milestone gets our team one step closer to achieving the mission of making advanced research training and technology available and affordable to the people who need it most.” 

The TORCH platform is now available at an introductory rate of $49.99 per month. 

“Our team at EAG has trained thousands of professionals in the military, law enforcement, private security, and even human resource departments on methods of doing advanced research.  We have also provided research services to these industries.  Our team created TORCH after gathering extensive feedback from analysts and researchers faced with the ongoing challenge of keeping up with the growing amount of information online,” said Jericho. “The obstacle is sifting through all the data, encroaching on crucial time to analyze and apply critical thinking. The TORCH platform helps analysts make the research process more efficient, helping businesses and brands make more informed decisions when timing is crucial.” 

About Echo Analytics Group 

Echo Analytics Group (EAG) is a veteran owned and operated intelligence firm based in Tampa, Florida. EAG brings military grade intelligence to the private sector, combining publicly available information with advanced research methodologies to empower businesses and people to make informed decisions. With the overwhelming amount of content created daily, EAG provides best-in-class research resources from tools, case management systems, investigations, education and even analysts to make real-time decisions. To learn more, visit: 


Threat Alert: China Wants to Expand Influence in the Pacific

Threat Alert: China Wants to Expand Influence in the Pacific

Last week, the Associated Press published a report about the People’s Republic of China’s aim for 10 Pacific nations to sign a security agreement with China. The deal details include China training police officers in the region, cooperation on security, joint development of fisheries, internet development, and further cultural influence from Beijing.

The nations that China wants in the pact are the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Fiji, Samoa, Niue, The Federated States of Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, The Cook Islands, Kiribati, and Vanuatu. However, with China’s plan, the nations listed did not reach a joint consensus on the security pact.

For this brief, Overwatch analyzed China’s relationships with each country on the list. Our research identified several factors which suggest that the Chinese state will continue to lay the groundwork to influence Pacific nations and develop more control in the region, undermining the U.S. and projecting China’s power.

Overwatch note: For brevity’s sake, we focused on the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, and Vanuatu.

The Solomon Islands

Photo Credit: Google Earth

The Solomon Islands has its security agreement with China, signed in April 2022. While the deal details are not all public, it reportedly permits China to send security forces to the islands to protect “Chinese nationals” and “property.” In addition, China provides training for the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force.

The following photo shows Chinese security forces with the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF).

Photo Credit: RSIPF Facebook Page

Analysts note that such training is what China allegedly offered in its more comprehensive agreement with the 10 Pacific nations.

The Solomon Islands has been moving closer to China since late-2019. In October 2019, the Solomon Islands severed its diplomatic ties with Taiwan and joined China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a global infrastructure program that seeks to connect all trade routes in Africa, Asia, and Europe to China.

There are also reports that China plans to establish a military base in the Solomon Islands, claims which both countries deny.

The United States continues to work together with the Solomon Islands, most recently using the U.S. Coast Guard to help patrol the Solomon Islands’ Economic Exclusive Zone.


Photo Credit: Google Earth

In 2012, the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji, opened a Confucius Institute. Confucius Institutes are on college campuses globally and Chinese state-funded to promote Chinese culture. According to the Congressional Research Service, the institutes lack transparency and, in some cases, “have successfully pushed back against or prevented PRC interference in university events, such as speaking engagements by the Dalai Lama and other figures opposed by the Chinese government.”

Analysts note that Confucius Institutes help China project soft power with foreign influence in countries outside its borders.

In May 2015, Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama and Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to strengthen cooperation in “agricultural technology, green development, and investment and trade.” Bainimarama also expressed support for the Belt and Road Initiative.

In April 2016, Fiji said it supported China’s position on the South China Sea, where one-third of the world’s maritime shipping passes each year.

In July 2018, Fiji said China would provide surveillance and hydrographic vessel. The vessel, RFNS Kacau, is currently used by the Fijian Navy. Additionally, In November 2018, Fiji officially joined China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Photo Credit: Republic of Fiji Navy

In the last few years, there has been increased cooperation and engagement between the Chinese Navy and the Fijian Navy.

Papua New Guinea

Photo Credit: Google Earth

In June 2018, Papua New Guinea joined China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

In August 2019, Papua New Guinea requested the Chinese State to refinance its government’s debt, an estimated 11.2 billion in loans. Further, following the Chinese Communist Party crackdowns in Hong Kong in 2020, Papua New Guinea expressed its support for China, not Hong Kong.

In an interview on May 31, 2021, with the Global Times, China’s Ambassador to Papua New Guinea, Zeng Fanhua, said, “PNG relations and pragmatic cooperation have reached a very high level, but there are still huge potential and broad prospects. Both sides hope to further strengthen high-level exchanges and strategic communication and enhance mutual political trust. After the pandemic, exchanges at all levels between China and PNG are expected to resume and strengthen as soon as possible.”


Photo Credit: Google Earth

In May 2016, Vanuatu was the first country in the region to support China’s claims over the South China Sea.

In November 2018, Vanuatu joined the Chinese State’s Belt and Road Initiative.

The Chinese Communist Party also has political influence in Vanuatu. China Daily reports, “To date, seven political parties in Vanuatu have established contact with the Communist Party of China. Ni-Vanuatu party leaders have actively participated in the CPC and World Political Parties Summit and the China-Pacific Island Countries Political Leadership Dialogue to strengthen party-to-party cooperation and enhance our people’s livelihoods. Party-to-party exchanges have already become a key driving force and a distinctive feature of China-Vanuatu relations.”

In March 2022, Chinese President Xi Jinping said he wanted to take China-Vanuatu relations and strategic partnerships to a new level.

Over the last few years, there have been reports that Vanuatu might be open to hosting a Chinese military base. However, we are not able to verify those claims.


The Chinese State will continue to expand its power and reach in the Pacific region, threatening U.S. interests and allies.

The greater the security cooperation between China and the Solomon Islands, the more likely it is for the Chinese State to obtain more decisive influence in the area. The Solomon Islands currently has no military, and the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) is both the law enforcement and national security authority. The RSIPF reliance on Chinese security forces for training will likely lead to deeper security ties between both nations and could damage the U.S.’s current relationship with the Solomon Islands. Additionally, a potential Chinese military base on the Solomon Islands could destabilize the region, and AUKUS members and the U.S. and Australia would see it as a national security threat.

We assess that relations between Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, and China will increase economically as the Chinese State provides loans to fund significant infrastructure projects in each underdeveloped nation. While China’s security agreement didn’t go through, China sees these countries as vital to their overall interests and trade routes that it seeks control over as part of its Belt and Road Initiative, suggesting that they will attempt another agreement with these smaller Pacific nations sometime in the future.