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Icon representing US Coast Guard Bulletin: Cyber Adversaries Targeting Commercial Vessels
US Coast Guard Bulletin: Cyber Adversaries Targeting Commercial Vessels

June 21st 2019
Icon representing Would you pay $1m for a laptop full of malware?
Would you pay $1m for a laptop full of malware?

May 23rd 2019
Icon representing Singapore Opens Maritime Cybersecurity Operations Centre (MSOC)
Singapore Opens Maritime Cybersecurity Operations Centre (MSOC)

May 22nd 2019
 
 
 

US arrests two alleged members of APT10 Chinese hacking group

 
January 3rd 2019
According to a news release from the United States’ Department of Justice, two Chinese hackers with alleged government ties have been arrested and charged with serious cybercrimes. The hackers, Zhu Hua (朱华) and Zhang Shilong (张士龙), are being indicted on charges of “conspiracy to commit computer intrusions, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft” while acting as members of APT10 (a hacking collective with alleged ties to Chinese Ministry of State Security). These crimes primarily focus on the stealing of classified data from military and scientific sources like NASA’s Goddard Space Center and Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the United States Navy.

The full extent of the alleged actions committed under the directive of the MSS are described in the news release as follows:

Through their involvement with the APT10 Group, from at least in or about 2006 up to and including in or about 2018, Zhu and Zhang conducted global campaigns of computer intrusions targeting, among other data, intellectual property and confidential business and technological information at managed service providers (MSPs), which are companies that remotely manage the information technology infrastructure of businesses and governments around the world, more than 45 technology companies in at least a dozen U.S. states, and U.S. government agencies. The APT10 Group targeted a diverse array of commercial activity, industries and technologies, including aviation, satellite and maritime technology, industrial factory automation, automotive supplies, laboratory instruments, banking and finance, telecommunications and consumer electronics, computer processor technology, information technology services, packaging, consulting, medical equipment, healthcare, biotechnology, pharmaceutical manufacturing, mining, and oil and gas exploration and production.

It is highly likely that the DOJ is using Zhu Hua and Zhang Shilong as bait to try to expose the larger APT10 group as a whole. You can be sure that plea deals will be offered in exchange for rolling over on the pair’s government clandestine operations. This is not likely to happen if the charges of espionage are accurate as every nation trains their respective operatives to resist interrogation techniques and to hold duty to country above all else.

Cyber-espionage is nothing new and it is only going to continue to grow with time. As long as the world has governments looking to get a leg up on their competition and achieve total supremacy, there will always be attacks like this. The CIA has done the same, as has Mossad, MI6, the FSB, and, in this instance, the MSS.

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