Chinese Hackers Are Targeting Crypto Firms


August 7, 2019 8:10 pm

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The cybersecurity company FireEye has published an article where it claims that Chinese state hackers are trying to hack cryptocurrency and video game companies. The targeted countries include India, France, Japan, Italy, Singapore, South Korea, Myanmar, Netherlands, Thailand, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Hong Kong, Switzerland, and Turkey. The targeted industries are cryptocurrency, video games, software, telecommunications, education, healthcare, and more.

The report states:

“Chinese state espionage cyber unit APT41 targets industries in a manner generally aligned with China’s Five-Year economic development plans. The group is also deployed to gather intelligence ahead of imminent events, such as mergers and acquisitions and political events.”

According to the company’s report, in June 2018 APT41 sent malicious emails to a blockchain company and in October the group deployed an instance of XMRig, a Monero (XMR) mining tool. The malicious email address was also used to target a digital currency exchange. FireEye also included that it has found code which overlaps between malware used by APT41 in May 2016 that targeted a U.S. based game firm.

The report also added that hackers’ group also deployed ransomware at one instance. However, few of those attacks were not commissioned by the Chinese state.

FireEye stated:

“Unlike other observed Chinese espionage operators, APT41 conducts explicit financially motivated activity, which has included the use of tools that are otherwise exclusively used in campaigns supporting state interests. The late-night to early morning activity of APT41’s financially motivated operations suggests that the group primarily conducts these activities outside of their normal day jobs.”

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