Researchers say Chinese hackers carried out attacks on US, European firms

Researchers say Chinese hackers carried out attacks on US, European firms
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Chinese-backed hackers targeted firms in the U.S. and Norway with an extended cyber espionage campaign over the course of nearly a year, security researchers said Wednesday.

Researchers at the firm Recorded Future said they believe actors from the group APT10 targeted the companies to “gain access to networks and steal valuable intellectual property or gain commercial advantage.”

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Among those targeted was an international apparel company, an American law firm that specializes in intellectual property law, and a Norwegian IT and cloud services managed service provider (MSP) called Visma.

The researchers said the attackers were able to access the firms’ networks and then deploy malware that allowed the hackers to obtain proprietary information.

“We believe APT10 is the most significant Chinese state-sponsored cyber threat to global corporations known to date,” the Recorded Future report states.

Chinese actors affiliated with APT10 have been active since 2009, and began attacking MSPs in 2017.

The Justice Department late last year charged a pair of Chinese hackers associated with the state government with allegedly conducting global cyber campaigns to steal intellectual property. That indictment tied the efforts to APT10.

The Trump administration has sought to crack down on alleged Chinese theft of trade secrets, most recently with indictments against Chinese telecommunications company Huawei.

The report also comes as the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) cyber agency will start to host webinars with companies to help share information about malicious Chinese cyber actors.

Christopher Krebs, who leads the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency at DHS, told The Hill on Tuesday that he hopes the sessions will “help folks understand, identify and reduce vulnerabilities and threats.”

“What we want to do is to get them to come back and work with us in the event that they find something," Krebs said.