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  • Rovindu Ambagolla

Digital Friday >>> Chinese Hackers are on the Offensive

Picture Credit: Bermix Studio

Recorded Future, a cybersecurity company which was founded in 2009 and is based in Massachusetts, has reported that Chinese hackers have launched offensive cyberattacks on Southeast Asian countries.

The Insikt group is Recorded Future’s threat research arm, and they compose of veteran researchers that back up intelligence analysts. They have stated that numerous Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia were all prime targets of Chinese hackers for the past nine months. It has also been revealed that the hackers have taken aim at several other countries as well including Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and the Philippines.

The targeted countries indicate that the Chinese hackers were after nations which had territorial disputes with China or major infrastructure projects. The Insikt Group commented, “The identified intrusion campaigns almost certainly support key strategic aims of the Chinese government, such as gathering intelligence on countries engaged in South China Sea territorial disputes or related to projects and countries strategically important to the Belt and Road initiative”.

The South China Sea dispute arose between China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Brunei when China claimed a “historical” right to almost 90% of the whole South China Sea which is a key trading route. The amount of trade that sails through the South China Sea is said to be more than $3 trillion.

Picture Source: ORF (Observer Research Foundation) website

The Insikt Group commented that Chinese hackers focused on the offices of Thai and Malaysian prime ministers, Foreign Affairs ministries, and their militaries. China has rejected Insikt’s claims and has denied any wrongdoing. Wang Wenbin, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman commented, “We oppose the spread of disinformation for political purposes to mislead the international community and sow discord between regional countries”.

However, China has also denied Insikt’s previous accusations of Chinese state-sponsored hackers infiltrating and stealing data from Indian government agencies. Insikt has also identified that Chinese state-sponsored hackers had targeted communications networks in Laos and the Cambodian foreign ministry. The group further commented, “The scale and scope of China’s cyber espionage program remains unrivalled, exemplified by the large number of distinct actors with operational taskings within specific geological regions”.

December 10th 2021 | 3:30 PM

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