Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

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
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
Aviation Faces Increasing Cybersecurity Scrutiny
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  8/22/2019
Microsoft Tops Phishers' Favorite Brands as Facebook Spikes
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  8/22/2019
Capital One Breach: What Security Teams Can Do Now
Dr. Richard Gold, Head of Security Engineering at Digital Shadows,  8/23/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
7 Threats & Disruptive Forces Changing the Face of Cybersecurity
This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at the biggest emerging threats and disruptive forces that are changing the face of cybersecurity today.
Flash Poll
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
Your enterprise's cyber risk may depend upon the relationship between the IT team and the security team. Heres some insight on what's working and what isn't in the data center.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-15540
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-25
filters/filter-cso/filter-stream.c in the CSO filter in libMirage 3.2.2 in CDemu does not validate the part size, triggering a heap-based buffer overflow that can lead to root access by a local Linux user.
CVE-2019-15538
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-25
An issue was discovered in xfs_setattr_nonsize in fs/xfs/xfs_iops.c in the Linux kernel through 5.2.9. XFS partially wedges when a chgrp fails on account of being out of disk quota. xfs_setattr_nonsize is failing to unlock the ILOCK after the xfs_qm_vop_chown_reserve call fails. This is primarily a ...
CVE-2016-6154
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-23
The authentication applet in Watchguard Fireware 11.11 Operating System has reflected XSS (this can also cause an open redirect).
CVE-2019-5594
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-23
An Improper Neutralization of Input During Web Page Generation ("Cross-site Scripting") in Fortinet FortiNAC 8.3.0 to 8.3.6 and 8.5.0 admin webUI may allow an unauthenticated attacker to perform a reflected XSS attack via the search field in the webUI.
CVE-2019-6695
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-23
Lack of root file system integrity checking in Fortinet FortiManager VM application images of all versions below 6.2.1 may allow an attacker to implant third-party programs by recreating the image through specific methods.