Endpoint

2/9/2016
11:15 AM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Chinese Cyberspies Pivot To Russia In Wake Of Obama-Xi Pact

Kaspersky Lab has identified a massive uptick in cyber espionage in Russia by 'Chinese-speaking' APTs.

TENERIFE, SPAIN – Kaspersky Security Analyst Summit 2016 – Cyber espionage attacks by Chinese advanced persistent threat groups against Russian targets have increased by 300 percent in the past two months, according to a top security expert with Kaspersky Lab.

Costin Raiu, director of the global research and analysis team at Kaspersky Lab, says his firm’s researchers witnessed a dramatic drop in Chinese-speaking APTs going after US and UK organizations’ intellectual property in September after President Obama and Chinese president Xi Jinping came to a historic agreement not to conduct cyber spying attacks for economic gain. Kaspersky Lab refrains from confirming the actual actors behind advanced groups such as nation-states, so it refers to these attackers as "Chinese-speaking" cyber espionage groups.

“Immediately after the signing of the agreement, there was silence” in attacks against the US, Raiu said in an interview with Dark Reading. “Then there were some small bits and pieces of random noise … but after that, they [Chinese-speaking APTs] completely went silent in the US and UK,” Raiu said, referring to Xi’s similar no-hack deal in October with Prime Minister Cameron in the UK.

Raiu said the cyber espionage groups appear to have shifted their focus to Russia and other former Soviet countries as new sources of intellectual property for economic gain in the wake of the Obama-Xi pact.

While the Obama-Xi agreement was applauded by the security and IT industries as a good first step, critics had expected China ultimately not to fully comply with the agreement. Those concerns appeared to come to fruition in October, when CrowdStrike reported spotting multiple Chinese APT groups attempting to steal business secrets from seven US companies in the technology and pharmaceutical industries the day after the Obama-Xi agreement. The Obama-Xi pact stops short of banning traditional espionage via hacking.

Kaspersky’s Raiu said his company has seen activity from Mirage, a Chinese-speaking APT group that traditionally has targeted ministries of foreign affairs, waging attacks in Russia. “Now they are super-active in Russia,” he said, with interests in military espionage, for example. But there have been “several” APT groups seen targeting Russian victims, he said.

Kurt Baumgartner, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, says the increased activity targets “a geopolitical profile.”

Industries that support those geopolitical interests and structure are also under attack, he said.

CrowdStrike also has seen more Chinese attacks on Russia -- from a specific Chinese APT group called Hammer Panda against Russian Federation nations. But it's also still seeing China-based attacks on US companies.

"We have definitely observed an increase in Hammer Panda targeting of the Russian Federation. In the [CrowdStrike] Global Threat Report ... we observe that following an agreement between China and Russia in May 2015 to abolish any type of hacking between the two states, we observed an almost immediate violation of the agreement by China," said Adam Meyers, vice president of intelligence at CrowdStrike. "We have continued to observe China-based intrusion groups targeting US companies." 

 

Interop 2016 Las VegasFind out more about APTs at Interop 2016, May 2-6, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Las Vegas. Register today and receive an early bird discount of $200.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is Executive Editor at DarkReading.com. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
High Stress Levels Impacting CISOs Physically, Mentally
Jai Vijayan, Freelance writer,  2/14/2019
Valentine's Emails Laced with Gandcrab Ransomware
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  2/14/2019
Making the Case for a Cybersecurity Moon Shot
Adam Shostack, Consultant, Entrepreneur, Technologist, Game Designer,  2/19/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
5 Emerging Cyber Threats to Watch for in 2019
Online attackers are constantly developing new, innovative ways to break into the enterprise. This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at five emerging attack trends and exploits your security team should look out for, along with helpful recommendations on how you can prevent your organization from falling victim.
Flash Poll
How Enterprises Are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How Enterprises Are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
Data breach fears and the need to comply with regulations such as GDPR are two major drivers increased spending on security products and technologies. But other factors are contributing to the trend as well. Find out more about how enterprises are attacking the cybersecurity problem by reading our report today.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-8980
PUBLISHED: 2019-02-21
A memory leak in the kernel_read_file function in fs/exec.c in the Linux kernel through 4.20.11 allows attackers to cause a denial of service (memory consumption) by triggering vfs_read failures.
CVE-2019-8979
PUBLISHED: 2019-02-21
Koseven through 3.3.9, and Kohana through 3.3.6, has SQL Injection when the order_by() parameter can be controlled.
CVE-2013-7469
PUBLISHED: 2019-02-21
Seafile through 6.2.11 always uses the same Initialization Vector (IV) with Cipher Block Chaining (CBC) Mode to encrypt private data, making it easier to conduct chosen-plaintext attacks or dictionary attacks.
CVE-2018-20146
PUBLISHED: 2019-02-21
An issue was discovered in Liquidware ProfileUnity before 6.8.0 with Liquidware FlexApp before 6.8.0. A local user could obtain administrator rights, as demonstrated by use of PowerShell.
CVE-2019-5727
PUBLISHED: 2019-02-21
Splunk Web in Splunk Enterprise 6.5.x before 6.5.5, 6.4.x before 6.4.9, 6.3.x before 6.3.12, 6.2.x before 6.2.14, 6.1.x before 6.1.14, and 6.0.x before 6.0.15 and Splunk Light before 6.6.0 has Persistent XSS, aka SPL-138827.