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China under cyberattack, 100s of govt units and firms compromised: Report

Citing a recent case where an unnamed Chinese 100s of govt technology company was targeted by a foreign hacking group for cyber extortion, China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS) on Thursday warned that the networks of “hundreds” of other Chinese businesses and government units have also been infiltrated by these overseas hackers, in preparation for “larger scale criminal activities”.
The warning was issued by the MSS on Thursday through a message on its official WeChat account. The intention of the message was to raise public awareness about hacking and cyber-ransom risks from overseas, which the state security authority said could cause “huge economic losses and leakage of sensitive information”, especially given the “rampant” cyberattacks by foreign agencies in recent years.
The news was first reported by the Global Times, which comes under the Chinese Communist Party’s flagship newspaper, the People’s Daily. Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post also confirmed the development.
The MSS also warned that China’s national security could be “severely” endangered if sensitive or secret information fell into the hands of foreign spy agencies or “someone with an ill intention”.
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The warning by the MSS comes at a time when China and the US have accused each other of state-backed cyberattacks, with both countries expanding their cybersecurity efforts.
MSS’ WeChat post gave an example of a “hi-tech enterprise” that was recently blackmailed after its data and information systems were encrypted and locked by the aforementioned overseas hacking group. The company’s daily production and business operations were also interrupted.
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The MSS warned that its investigations have found that in addition to the ransomware attack against the aforementioned firm, “the foreign hacking group has also infiltrated hundreds of networks of domestic business and government units, in preparation for larger scale criminal activities”.
However, the state security authority did not reveal this hacking group’s location or identity.
The MSS went on to urge people and organisations to report any cyberattacks or ransom demands to China’s national security authorities.

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