Chinese hackers suspected of further infiltrating US defense and technology companies

The apparent espionage, which the National Security Agency helped investigate as it emerged in recent months, is broader in scope than previously known and has seen hackers hit Steal passwords from targeted organizations with the goal of intercepting sensitive communications.

Globally, at least 13 organizations in sectors such as defense, healthcare, energy and transportation are currently confirmed to have been breached, cybersecurity firm Palo Alto Networks will warn. reported in a report released on Thursday.

Palo Alto Networks has identified about 600 cases where systems running a type of vulnerable software in the US have been exploited by hackers. That includes installations at 23 universities, 14 state or local governments and 10 healthcare organizations, the researchers said.

It’s the kind of digital espionage that the US government has been trying for years to expose before compromising sensitive data related to national security or trade secrets.

According to Palo Alto Networks, the hacking effort shares similarities with the techniques of a group Microsoft has identified as operating in China.

The ultimate impact of computer intrusions is still unclear as investigations into the breaches are underway. However, researchers from Palo Alto Networks Unit 42 believe that hackers may be trying to gain long-term access to computer systems to take away important data from US companies.

“This adversary has targeted organizations in the United States and elsewhere in the defense, technology, and critical sectors,” Ryan Olson, Palo Alto Networks’ Vice President of Division 42, told CNN. other important.

“While we are still learning more about the impact of these attacks, we urge organizations to quickly patch vulnerable systems and follow recommendations to determine if they are effective.” compromised or not,” Olson said.

The NSA declined to comment on the new study. The US Infrastructure and Cybersecurity Agency, which has also sought to reduce the impact of the hacking campaign, referred the question to Palo Alto Networks.

The Chinese embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment.

While Beijing regularly denies conducting hacking activities, cybersecurity has remained a constant source of tension in US-China relations for years.

NS The Biden administration in July blamed China for various hacking activities that have exploited Microsoft’s email software and, experts say, have exposed organizations worldwide to further attacks from cybercriminals.

A senior Biden administration official at the time called it part of “a pattern of irresponsible behavior in cyberspace” by China. Beijing denies involvement.

China’s latest suspected cyber piracy doesn’t appear to pose that much of a threat. But it still attracted the attention of senior US cybersecurity officials, who have worked with researchers to warn companies of potential victims.

In recent weeks, hackers have moved from exploiting one popular piece of software to another, aiming to infiltrate more organizations. Fixes are available for both software products made by multinational technology company Zoho. But many corporate customers still haven’t updated their systems and are still vulnerable.

If China’s involvement in the campaign is confirmed, it would add to the growing number of cases in recent years of alleged Chinese hackers seeking to infiltrate networks of international contractors. American room.

ONE 2014 Senate Inquiry discovered that hackers with ties to the Chinese government compromised US Transportation Command contractors 20 times in a year. The command, responsible for the global movement of US troops and military equipment, was aware of only two of those breaches.


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