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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Chinese Hackers Eavesdropping on Vital US Infrastructure: Microsoft

According to Microsoft, the Chinese hacking group has been operating since at least 2021

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UNITED STATES: Microsoft warned that a state-sponsored Chinese hacking outfit has been eavesdropping on key infrastructure companies in the US, including telecommunications and transportation centres. The company also stated that hackers have also targeted Guam, a US territory with military outposts.

China and the US have been spying on one other for a long time, but this is one of the biggest known Chinese cyberespionage programmes against American infrastructure, according to analysts.

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The US National Security Agency (NSA) announced that it was collaborating with partners from countries such as the UK, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia to find security flaws. Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand issued a warning that they may also be targeted by hackers.

Microsoft analysts expressed “moderate confidence” that the Chinese outfit known as “Volt Typhoon” was creating tools that may threaten the vital communications networks between the United States and Asia during future crises.

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John Hultquist, director of threat analysis at Google’s Mandiant Intelligence, believes they are preparing for this possibility.

The Chinese activity is unusual and concerning due to the geopolitical environment. President Joe Biden of the US has stated he would be willing to use force to defend Taiwan in light of China’s increased diplomatic and military pressure over its claim to a democratically controlled Taiwan. This is of greater interest due to the geopolitical environment.

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Security experts predict that Chinese hackers may attack American military networks and other vital infrastructure. Companies that manage vital infrastructure were asked to spot hostile activity using technical advice released by the NSA and other Western cyber agencies.

Paul Chichester, director of the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre, states that operators must take action to prevent attackers.

According to Microsoft, the Chinese hacking group has been operating since at least 2021 and has targeted a variety of sectors, using built-in network tools to evade defences. They infect a target’s current systems to find information and retrieve data rather than using conventional hacking approaches, which require fooling victims into downloading dangerous files.

The US military maintains facilities in Guam that are essential for responding to war in the Asia-Pacific region. It also serves as a communications hub for submarine cables that link the United States to Asia and Australia. 

Bart Hoggeveen, an analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, believes Guam is a logical target for the Chinese government to gather intelligence. New Zealand has pledged to take steps to stop such hostile cyber activities there.

Clare O’Neil emphasised the importance of being candid and upfront with Australians about the challenges they face. Canada’s cybersecurity organisation has not reported any victims, but Western economies are highly interconnected, and an attack on one can have an effect on the other.

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