Feeds

Hong Kong firms also at risk from Chinese hackers

Experts warn multinationals to batten down hatches

The essential guide to IT transformation

Security experts have warned multinationals with bases in Hong Kong that they are not immune to cyber attack from China despite the shared sovereignty between the Special Administrative Region (SAR)and its mainland parent.

The Chinese authorities have long been blamed for either officially sanctioning cyber espionage attacks on foreign public and private organisations or turning a blind eye to financially motivated or patriotic attacks on western companies and states launched from within the People’s Republic.

Some believe there is an unwritten agreement between the hacking community and the authorities that these activities can continue as long as no government organisations or firms operating in China are touched.

However, experts in the SAR have said multinationals appear to be fair game for Chinese hackers.

Roy Ko, centre manager of the Hong Kong Computer Emergency Response Team (HKCERT) told The Reg that his team works closely with its Chinese counterpart to source the location of attacks on local firms.

“Hong Kong’s immunity depends on our capabilities to defend, not because we’re part of China,” he argued. “We have a good communications channel in place with the China CERT, so when the attacks have come from China we can seek their help and advice.”

Ian Christofis, an acting manager for Verizon in North Asia, recently told The Reg that multinationals on the mainland were worried about IP theft via malicious insiders and said Hong Kong firms were equally in the crosshairs.

“Hong Kong is just as much a target as anywhere else. Hong Kong firms should not be complacent,” he added.

Guido Crucq, GM of security solutions Asia Pacific for integrator Dimension Data, agreed.

"Cybercriminals are into hacking for the money, so we advised our clients that we can't let our guard down simply because we are doing business in a location which we consider as friendly territory," he said.

However, lawmaker Samson Tam, who is a legislative councillor for IT in the SAR, preferred to play up the threat to locally-based firms from outside of China.

“Most attacks come from smaller countries or areas with looser controls, so international police force co-operation is very important,” he told The Reg.

“Mainly they are financially-motivated attacks because we don’t have many political, cultural or religious tensions here.”

In any case, as has been proven in the past, it can be frustratingly difficult for experts to accurately trace back a cyber attack to source.

Given its large online population, China will naturally have a sizeable number of compromised machines which either home-grown or foreign hackers can use to launch attacks, said HK CERT's Ko. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Ice cream headache as black hat hacks sack Dairy Queen
I scream, you scream, we all scream 'DATA BREACH'!
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
Three quarters of South Korea popped in online gaming raids
Records used to plunder game items, sold off to low lifes
Oz fed police in PDF redaction SNAFU
Give us your metadata, we'll publish your data
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?