Tags: FBI | China | hackers | cybersecurity

FBI Warns Tech Companies of State-Sponsored Chinese Hackers

Thursday, 16 October 2014 02:50 PM

Hackers affiliated with the Chinese government have heavily targeted makers of microchips, computer networking equipment and data storage services to steal company secrets, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said.

The FBI sent a warning to companies yesterday, telling them that “these state-sponsored hackers are exceedingly stealthy and agile” and have used customized malicious code that was undetected by security researchers and law enforcement.

The warning hints at an increasingly public confrontation in which the U.S. claims the Chinese government is conducting a long-term, widespread campaign of economic espionage. The alert also shows Beijing-backed hackers continue to operate even after the U.S. escalated its battle in May by indicting five Chinese military officials, accusing them of stealing trade secrets.

In addition to technology companies, the latest FBI alert said the hackers have also targeted defense contractors in multiple countries and multinational corporations.

The warning provides information companies “can use to help determine whether their systems have been compromised by these actors and provides steps they can take to mitigate any continuing threats,” Joshua Campbell, an FBI spokesman, said in an e-mail. “The FBI continues to aggressively investigate, disrupt and dismantle criminal networks that pose a threat in cyberspace.”

The warning was reported earlier by the Washington Post.

Chinese Army

The hackers are even more sophisticated than a group from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army whose activity was exposed by Mandiant Corp. in a February 2013 report. Mandiant said that group likely was behind the hacking of at least 141 companies worldwide since 2006.

The hackers in yesterday’s warning used at least four “zero-day” exploits in the attacks to compromise legitimate websites and deliver the malicious code, the FBI said. Zero days are the crown jewels within a hackers’ toolbox because they exploit software flaws that are unknown to developers and security experts.

The FBI said the hackers “routinely steal high value information from U.S. commercial and government networks through cyber espionage,” according to the warning.

“Any activity related to this group detected on a network should be considered an indication of a compromise requiring extensive mitigation and contact with law enforcement,” the FBI said.

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Hackers affiliated with the Chinese government have heavily targeted makers of microchips, computer networking equipment and data storage services to steal company secrets, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said.
FBI, China, hackers, cybersecurity
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2014-50-16
Thursday, 16 October 2014 02:50 PM
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