Sunday, May 16, 2021

Report: Chinese Hackers Have Resumed Attacks on U.S. Targets

Security vendor Mandiant says that the Chinese Army is back at its work hacking U.S. organizations. China had reportedly scaled back its attacks for about three months after reports of its activities surfaced.

David E. Sanger and Nicole Perlroth with The New York Times reported, “Three months after hackers working for a cyberunit of China’s People’s Liberation Army went silent amid evidence that they had stolen data from scores of American companies and government agencies, they appear to have resumed their attacks using different techniques, according to computer industry security experts and American officials.”

BBC News noted, “In February, Unit 61398 of the Chinese army was named as the source of many cyber-attacks on American companies and federal agencies. The publicity drew denials from the Chinese government, but also prompted the number of attacks launched from China to slow to a trickle.”

Ars Technica’s Sean Gallagher added, “The revived attacks come despite (or perhaps because of) the direct accusations leveled against China’s military in a Pentagon report to Congress earlier this month. The White House approved ‘naming and shaming’ the PLA unit in hopes that it would cause the Chinese government to take action. The move was part of an escalation of diplomatic pressure that began in March, when White House National Security Advisor Tom Donilon first publicly mentioned the Obama Administration’s appeal to the Chinese government to ‘engage with us in a constructive dialogue’ on cyber security.”

In other news of widespread cyberattacks, Computerworld’s Lucian Constantin reported, “Security researchers from Trend Micro have uncovered an active cyberespionage operation that so far has compromised computers belonging to government ministries, technology companies, media outlets, academic research institutions and nongovernmental organizations from over 100 countries. The operation, which Trend Micro has dubbed Safe, targets potential victims using spear phishing emails with malicious attachments.”

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