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
12 Free, Ready-to-Use Security Tools
Steve Zurier, Freelance Writer,  10/12/2018
Most IT Security Pros Want to Change Jobs
Dark Reading Staff 10/12/2018
Most Malware Arrives Via Email
Dark Reading Staff 10/11/2018
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
Flash Poll
The Risk Management Struggle
The Risk Management Struggle
The majority of organizations are struggling to implement a risk-based approach to security even though risk reduction has become the primary metric for measuring the effectiveness of enterprise security strategies. Read the report and get more details today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2018-17534
PUBLISHED: 2018-10-15
Teltonika RUT9XX routers with firmware before 00.04.233 provide a root terminal on a serial interface without proper access control. This allows attackers with physical access to execute arbitrary commands with root privileges.
CVE-2018-17980
PUBLISHED: 2018-10-15
NoMachine before 5.3.27 and 6.x before 6.3.6 allows attackers to gain privileges via a Trojan horse wintab32.dll file located in the same directory as a .nxs file, as demonstrated by a scenario where the .nxs file and the DLL are in the current working directory, and the Trojan horse code is execute...
CVE-2018-18259
PUBLISHED: 2018-10-15
Stored XSS has been discovered in version 1.0.12 of the LUYA CMS software via /admin/api-cms-nav/create-page.
CVE-2018-18260
PUBLISHED: 2018-10-15
In the 2.4 version of Camaleon CMS, Stored XSS has been discovered. The profile image in the User settings section can be run in the update / upload area via /admin/media/upload?actions=false.
CVE-2018-17532
PUBLISHED: 2018-10-15
Teltonika RUT9XX routers with firmware before 00.04.233 are prone to multiple unauthenticated OS command injection vulnerabilities in autologin.cgi and hotspotlogin.cgi due to insufficient user input sanitization. This allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary commands with root privileges.