After months of research, cyber security giant FireEye recently disclosed that the hackers, supported by the Chinese government, have been spying on governments, companies, and journalists in Southeast Asia, India and other countries for a decade. As per the released report of 65 pages by FireEye, the motive behind the decade-long cyber attacks were to gather intelligence from classified government networks on two major issues – political and military, such as disputes over the South China Sea.
Talking in regard to the reports released, Internet Security Company, FireEye, said, “The cyber espionage dated back to at least 2005 and ‘focused on targets- government and commercial – who hold key political, economic and military information about the region.” Adding further, the report’s author said, “Such as sustained planned development effort coupled with the (hacking) group’s regional targets and mission, lead us to believe that this activity is state-sponsored – most likely Chinese government.”
For the Internet Security firm FireEye, conducting an investigation into decade-long cyber-attack plans became a little easier as the attacks by Chinese hackers as reported were still in their active mode and the servers used by them were still operational. Open servers and the ongoing attacks actually helped the security firm in discovering the real-facet of the scary ongoing plan.
Bryce Boland, Chief Technology Officer for Asia Pacific at FireEye and co-author of the report said, “The attack was still ongoing, noting that the servers the attackers used were still operational, and that FireEye continued to see attacks against its customers, who number among the targets.
Going to the other side of the fence; China has always denied such accusations of using the Internet to spy on governments, organizations and other firms. On asking for a comment on the reports by FireEye, neither the Foreign Ministry nor the Cyberspace Administration of China reverted. At the same time, facing similar accusations of targeting countries like South and Southeast Asia is nothing new to China.
Notably, in the year 2011, researchers from McAfee had reported a campaign named Shady Rat, which attacked Asian governments and institutions, among other attacks.
In the meantime, Chief Technology Officer of FireEye, Bryce Boland declined to disclose the specifics of the recipients among whom the report has been distributed. However, he did confirm that the Chinese government has not yet been provided any details of its intelligence or reports.