Feeds

Chinese hacker bust drove crims underground says report

Oh GREAT, concludes Congress, now they'll be even HARDER to find

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

The public exposure of Chinese hacking group APT1 and its alleged affiliation to the People’s Liberation Army has done nothing but drive its members deeper underground, according to a US congressional report.

The US-China Economic and Security Commission, which advises Congress on China, said in a draft report seen by Reuters that the allegations made by security firm Mandiant in February only led to a brief cessation of activities.

"There are no indications the public exposure of Chinese cyber espionage in technical detail throughout 2013 has led China to change its attitude toward the use of cyber espionage to steal proprietary economic and trade information,” the report apparently argues.

Mandiant’s report raised a great many eyebrows in the international community earlier this year when it became the first to link extensive APT-style campaigns by the infamous APT1 or Comment Crew with PLA unit 61398, which it said worked out of the same nondescript tower blocks in Shanghai’s Pudong district.

The 60-page report, although not 100 per cent conclusive, makes a pretty compelling argument and is the closest anyone’s come to establishing the link between Beijing and extensive online attacks on targets outside the Great Firewall.

It was hoped by some that the naming and shaming done in the report would cause Beijing to rethink and dial back its cyber espionage efforts, but that now seems to have been something of a pipe dream.

The US draft report apparently claims that Mandiant’s revelations “merely led Unit 61398 to make changes to its cyber 'tools and infrastructure' [to make] future intrusions harder to detect and attribute".

In fact, as early as May this year, Mandiant reported that APT1 was “active and rebuilding”. It added the following:

APT1 maintained an extensive infrastructure of computer systems around the world, and it is highly likely that APT1 still maintains access to those systems or has utilised those systems to establish new attack infrastructure in the last three months.

The 20+ other APT groups Mandiant is tracking, which are suspected to operate from China, didn’t significantly change their operations after the February report, it said.

For its part, Beijing continues to claim it has no part in any kind of offensive online espionage activity and that it is a victim, not a perpetrator, when it comes to cyber crime – a claim which has gained more credence since the NSA spying revelations came to light. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
'Kim Kardashian snaps naked selfies with a BLACKBERRY'. *Twitterati gasps*
More alleged private, nude celeb pics appear online
Home Depot ignored staff warnings of security fail laundry list
'Just use cash', former security staffer warns friends
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Freenode IRC users told to change passwords after securo-breach
Miscreants probably got in, you guys know the drill by now
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
BitTorrent's peer-to-peer chat app Bleep goes live as public alpha
A good day for privacy as invisble.im also reveals its approach to untraceable chats
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
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?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.