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U.S.-Israeli Cyber Security Firm Exposes Chinese Regime-Linked Global Industrial Espionage Ring

U.S.-Israeli Cyber Security Firm Exposes Chinese Regime-Linked Global Industrial Espionage Ring

“Chinese hackers took trillions in intellectual property from about 30 multinational companies.”

A U.S.-Israeli cybersecurity firm has exposed a massive Chinese state-linked hacking operation that managed to infiltrate American, European, and Asian multinationals, The Times of Israel reported Monday.

Massachusetts-based Cybereason found that a Beijing-backed hacker outfit, which goes by the name APT 41, stole industrial secrets worth trillions of dollars with an apparent aim to boost the Chinese state-controlled economy.

The Chinese regime-backed hacker “group has existed since at least 2010 and is believed to be operating on behalf of Chinese state interests and specializes in cyberespionage and intellectual property theft,” the report released by the cyber security firm said.

The exposed Chinese industrial espionage ring has a worldwide reach, the research conducted by Cybereason disclosed. “According to the cybersecurity researchers, the covert attacks have been focused on infiltrating the networks of technology and manufacturing companies in Europe, Asia, and North America, focusing on stealing sensitive proprietary information,” the tech news website ZDNet reported this week, citing the revelations.

The Chinese hacker outfit stole intellectual property worth trillions belonging to U.S. and international firms, the estimates showed. “Chinese hackers took trillions in intellectual property from about 30 multinational companies,” CBS News noted. “The FBI estimated in its report that the annual cost to the U.S. economy of counterfeit goods, pirated software, and theft of trade secrets is between $225 billion and $600 billion,” the broadcaster added.

The Times of Israel reported U.S.-Israeli cybersecurity firm’s findings:

An Israeli-American cybersecurity firm said Monday that it uncovered a “massive” hacking operation, apparently led by a hacking group believed to be backed by China, that had engaged in intellectual property (IP) theft and industrial espionage on three continents.

Cybereason, which is headquartered in Boston with offices in Tel Aviv, London, and Tokyo, said the group employed sophisticated methods and worked in an elusive manner to target technology and manufacturing companies in the US, Europe, and Asia and steal sensitive proprietary information.

Assaf Dahan, senior director and head of threat research at Cybereason, told The Times of Israel that the ring, known as the Winnti Group (and also tracked as APT41, Blackfly and Barium in cybersecurity circles) was “one of the most prolific and industrious groups in the cyber threat landscape,” and is known to operate on behalf of Chinese state interests.

The group has been active since at least 2010. Some known members of the group were indicted in 2020 by the US Department of Justice for computer crimes against some 100 companies in the US and other countries, including software development companies, computer hardware manufacturers, telecommunications providers, and gaming firms.

Dahan said Cybereason’s research showed that the Winnti Group engaged in “intellectual property theft and cyber espionage on a grand scale” since at least 2019, and possibly before. Cybereason began its research into the group’s industrial espionage operations last year, having been alerted by one of the targeted companies that something “funky” was afoot in its network, said Dahan, who is based in London.

The Chinese theft of U.S. and Western intellectual property is deeply tied to the regime’s military program. Under Xi Jinping, China has adopted a policy of Military-Civil Fusion (MCF) which gives Chinese military sweeping powers over country’s investments, companies, and universities to get its hands of cutting-edge technology.

The Chinese civil-military axis aims to “develop the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) into a “world class military” by 2049 ,” a Trump-era State Department report said. “Under MCF, the CCP is acquiring the intellectual property, key research, and technological advances of the world’s citizens, researchers, scholars, and private industry in order to advance the CCP’s military aims,” the document concluded.

China’s Cyber Offensive Alarms Asian Powers

China’s malicious cyber activities have alarmed neighboring Asian powers. On Thursday, South Korea became the first Asian country to join the elite NATO cyber defense group. The NATO “Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence trains specialists from member states to work together to fend off cyberattacks and South Korea is the fifth non-Nato member to sign up for it,” the Hong Kong-based newspaper South China Morning Post commented.

The South Korea’s move angered Beijing. The Chinese Communist Party-run “Global Times claimed that “the US-led NATO is turning South Korea into a pawn against China and Russia in cyber defense,” another Hong Kong daily Asia Times reported.

The CCP mouthpiece concealed China’s active support for North Korea’s ongoing cyberwar against Seoul. Beijing’s backing for the North Korean hackers ranges “[f]rom hosting North Korean cyberunits in border cities such as Shenyang to training them at Chinese technology universities and research institutes, the CCP enables North Korea’s maliciousness in cyberspace,” the U.S.-based journal Foreign Policy noted in February 2022.

With an eye on China, India also wants to boost cyber security ties with the U.S., the Indian media reported earlier this year.

South Korea joins NATO cyber defense unit, angers China


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China is America’s greatest threat, right behind the American Left.

“A Global Industrial Espionage Ring”

That is just one of China’s many varianated espionage rings. China probably has more espionage rings in our governement that Carter has liver pills.

Xi is the Lord of the Rings.

But Russia!

America, prepare for subjucation.
It cannot be stopped.

With so many of our factories and the technology that goes with it already in China and so many of their students in our colleges and universites harvesting our knowledge—-why the hell don’t they develop their own technology?

    CommoChief in reply to Peabody. | May 10, 2022 at 2:51 pm

    The Universities receive lavish funding in grants from CCP front companies as well as huge amounts of tuition from foreign students. Of course they provide access to research data to the carve outs from the research grants and the CCP supplied grad students . The Universities are not victims, they are willing participants.

The Gentle Grizzly | May 10, 2022 at 2:19 pm

Because it’s cheaper to deal with a naïve, wide-eyed, weak need bunch of people like American politicians. Why expend the effort?

    henrybowman in reply to The Gentle Grizzly. | May 10, 2022 at 3:35 pm

    They’re not naive, weak-kneed, or wide-eyed (except perhaps the current Resident). They’re greedy. Clinton SOLD secrets to China. Hillary SOLD fissionables to Russia. Biden SOLD high-level access to China.

      Peabody in reply to henrybowman. | May 10, 2022 at 3:52 pm

      You need to conjugage your verbs.:

      1. Bidens sells
      2. Biden is selling
      3. Biden sold
      4. Biden has sold
      5. Biden has been selling
      6. Biden will sell
      6. Biden will be selling

henrybowman | May 10, 2022 at 3:33 pm

This is the second time I have seen this photo of an appaent hologram of Xi surreally extending through the roof of an automobile, and being reflected by it. Where do you find these marvels?

The USA Europe, and Asian countries affected by Chinese illegal activities should cancel any monetary debt to China, confiscate all Chinese’s investments/contracts in their country, expel all Chinese from their county including students, bring home all business in China, and began manufacturing their own products! Stop all current business with China and move forward on a case-by-case basis per absolute needs. all treaties, agreements, and military information sharing. Going forward, China must earn its trust by doing business honestly!

healthguyfsu | May 10, 2022 at 6:21 pm

Instead of announcing this, they should have just deployed a bunch of trojan horses and fake info with a two fold goal.

1. Counter-hack and retaliate.

2. Force China to twist in the wind when trying to replicate complicated tech specs that are faked.

Chinese spying has been pretty open and aggressive for the past two decades. They’ve used every technique to get information from simple eavesdropping and honey pots, to placing agents in universities, research facilities, and governmental/international organizations, to hacking. The spying has largely been ignored because it was so pervasive, and partially due to politics. The DOJ and FBI under Obama and Biden are more interested in investigating domestic political opponents instead of hostile foreign agents. Just look at the number of resources Obama/Biden has leveraged against domestic political opponents. For the first time ever, Biden has used a national SIGINT asset to spy on US citizens.

    henrybowman in reply to Guardian79. | May 10, 2022 at 8:26 pm

    Surely not the first time. The Obama administration was using the NSA to spy on Sharyl Atkisson, for just one case.

The Chinese would steal a hot stove, and come back for the smoke.

Old South Boston saying…