Security Firm Says Hundreds of Users Were Affected by Chinese-Linked Spy Attacks

Chinese hackers are allegedly behind internet attacks on hundreds of public and private institutions, according to a security company. According to representatives of the cybersecurity firm Mandiant, the attacks were made feasible by the hackers’ use of a flaw in a well-known email security program. The Chinese government may have supported the attacks, according to Mandiant, a Google subsidiary. The business said that government organizations, including foreign ministries, made up nearly a third of those targeted. Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, described the Mandiant report as “far-fetched and unprofessional.” He went on to say that American businesses kept producing reports that supported the US government’s unfounded allegations against other nations.

Mandiant’s chief technology officer is Charles Carmakal. According to him, since the early 2021 attack on a Microsoft email system, these are thought to be the biggest internet espionage efforts connected to China, he told The Associated Press. Tens of thousands of machines worldwide were impacted by that breach. The attack exploited a flaw in email security software developed by California-based Barracuda Networks. Mandiant stated that it has a strong suspicion that the hack was part of a spying effort “in support of the People’s Republic of China.” It stated that as early as October, the activity started. According to Mandiant, the hackers gained access to the devices and data of the targeted firms by sending emails with malicious attachments.

According to the firm, fifty-five percent of those groups originated in the Americas. A quarter came from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, while twenty-two percent were from the Asia-Pacific region. According to Mandiant, the targets included educational institutions in Taiwan and Hong Kong, foreign trade offices, and foreign ministries in Southeast Asia. The Americas are probably where Barracuda users are most concentrated, which explains why the majority of attacks occurred there. On June 6, Barracuda revealed that hacking had occurred as early as October in certain of its email security systems. Because of how serious the hacking operation was, Mandiant advised customers to completely replace its system.

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