Feeds

Foreign hacks in China hit with malicious emails

Beijing correspondents under fire

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Foreign journalists in Beijing have been bombarded with information-stealing malware in the past fortnight, as tensions rise before the much anticipated Communist Party leadership transition later this autumn.

The malware was delivered in a standard email attachment, with the attackers relying on tried and tested social engineering tactics to trick the recipient into opening the malicious files, according to Reuters.

Independent security expert Greg Walton told the news wire that the emails themselves purported to come from either a Beijing-based correspondent or a Washington-based think tank, with both referencing the upcoming Communist Party leadership handover.

They contained the same type of malware, designed to send encrypted info from the victim’s computer to an external server located in the UK, Reuters' report said.

Chinese authorities' response to news of the incident was vague.

"China manages the internet according to law and has engaged in cooperation with the international community to promote internet security. Internet security is a complicated issue," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told the news wire.

"China is also a victim of internet attacks. The source of these internet attacks is very difficult to determine. Reaching conclusions without sufficient evidence or fair and thorough investigations, it's just not serious."

Although the exact timing has yet to be revealed, it is widely expected that the Communist Party top brass will step aside this autumn and make way for a new intake of leaders. Such a transition happens every ten years.

Given the heightened political sensitivity in China at this time it’s not unusual to see spikes in malware targeted at specific groups like journalists and Party critics, coupled with a more vigorous approach to online censorship. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
George Clooney, WikiLeaks' lawyer wife hand out burner phones to wedding guests
Day 4: 'News'-papers STILL rammed with Clooney nuptials
Shellshock: 'Larger scale attack' on its way, warn securo-bods
Not just web servers under threat - though TENS of THOUSANDS have been hit
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.