According to a report by the BlackBerry Research and Intelligence Team, China is said to be practicing industrial and government espionage through five local hacking groups, which have been in business for at least 10 years.
These hackers would be responsible for attacks of the type “advanced persistent threats”, which would have as main focus – but not limited to – Linux servers, which are widely used by international federal agencies and private companies all over the planet.
Brazilian companies were also targeted
BlackBerry also told Canaltech that Brazilian companies would also have been attacked by Chinese groups, although it did not reveal the number of companies, their names, or their areas of operation.
Virtual invasions and crimes
According to the BlackBerry security team, illegal operations linked to the Chinese government mainly focused on Linux-based infrastructures. This strategy would have been adopted because corporate IT security professionals generally care about protecting employees’ machines more, which are potentially less secure. In this way, criminals were able to take advantage of server vulnerabilities and spend years stealing intellectual property without raising suspicion.
Despite the focus on servers, hackers would also be behind attacks on Windows machines and Android devices. Part of these types of actions would be virtual scams that aimed to raise money to finance other types of attacks.
These types of crimes, in fact, would have been driven by the covid-19 pandemic, as hundreds of workers around the world have been “forced” to work from home, and are using much less secure network structures than if were in the offices of large corporations.
Almost all segments of the industry were affected
The study found that, although governments were the main targets of the attacks, the defense, technology, telecommunications, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and gaming sectors were highly impacted. In fact, virtually all segments of the industry would have been affected, in dozens of countries.
At the moment, there are more than a thousand investigations underway in 56 FBI offices spread across the United States, all of them investigating the impacts of the operations of the Chinese hacker groups.