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China-Backed Hackers Named For Breaching 6 US Govt Networks In A Latest Study

A Chinese state-sponsored hacker gang successfully hacked the computer networks of at least six US state governments between May 2021 and February this year, findings were published on Tuesday by cybersecurity firm Mandiant.

As per Mandiant, the organisation known as APT41 allegedly exploited vulnerabilities in web applications to get an initial foothold in state government networks.

APT41, which Mandiant believes conducts state-sponsored espionage on behalf of Beijing, exploited software defects and promptly exploited security vulnerabilities that researchers made public. The hackers also changed their tools to attack using new tactics, according to the report.

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The researcher said, APT41′s recent work against US state governments has resulted in considerable new capabilities, ranging from novel attack paths to post-compromise tools and procedures.

APT41 can fast alter their initial access techniques by re-compromising an environment via a different vector or by rapidly operationalizing a new vulnerability.

Mandiant, the company behind the report published on Tuesday, is a Nasdaq-listed cybersecurity corporation based in the United States. Google announced on Tuesday that it intends to buy the company for approximately $5.4 billion.

APT41 had already been recognised as a “prolific Chinese state-sponsored cyber threat outfit” by other researchers, including those from BlackBerry. This is based on research produced by the business last year, which builds on previous revelations on APT41 and finds more cyberattacks carried out by the organisation.

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According to a representative for the Chinese embassy in the United Kingdom, China is a “staunch defender of cyber security as well as a major victim of cyber attacks.”

“China firmly opposes and combats all forms of cyber attacks, and is firmly against any smear against China under the pretext of cyber security. This position is consistent and clear,” the spokesperson said.

“We’ve stated on multiple occasions that given the virtual nature of cyberspace, the vast number and diversity of online actors and the difficulty in tracing, it’s important to have complete and sufficient evidence when investigating and defining cyber-related incidents. When linking cyber attacks with the government of any country, one must be even more prudent.”

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The US Department of Justice indicted five Chinese citizens in September 2020, including individuals it claimed were members of APT41, for computer attacks that affected over 100 victim companies in the US and internationally.

APT41 appeared “undeterred” by the indictment, according to Mandiant, and its intentions remain “unknown.”

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