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Chinese Cybersecurity Firm Alleges Decade Of CIA Hacks Against Chinese Officials

A cybersecurity company in China says it believes evidence shows the CIA has hacked government officials, scientists and industry targets in China for several years.

Benzinga · 03/07/2020 20:58

A cybersecurity company in China says it believes evidence shows the CIA has hacked government officials, scientists and industry targets in China for several years.

The company, Qihoo 360, published a report online alleging a "CIA hacking group" known as APT-C-39 has been targeting Chinese internet users for 11 years, claiming the group has targeted researchers and scientists and officials in the aviation, petroleum and internet industries, in addition to government workers. 

The U.S. is known to engage in cyber-espionage, and documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and information released by American security firms and law enforcement officials suggest that both countries hack each other, Reuters wrote in a report on the Qihoo release. 

The U.S. generally isn't thought to hack private companies for competitive reasons, however.

The Quihoo 360 web posting said its research into hacks against Chinese targets found that the tools used to hack those targets were the same ones purported by WikiLeaks documents from 2017 to have been developed by the CIA.

The group also noted that a former CIA officer is now on trial in New York for the 2017 leaks alleging CIA hacking activity, and quoted a federal prosecutor who called the case "the single biggest leak of classified national defense information in the history of CIA."

Quihoo, a major cybersecurity vendor, said the tools used by the CIA according to the 2017 documents are the same as those used to hack Chinese targets since 2008, which leads the group to the conclusion that the CIA is behind the hacks in China. 

A report in Fortune on the Qihoo web posting calls the information into question, noting that the group got basic information about the CIA wrong in its post. The CIA hasn't commented on the posting.

Related Links:

WikiLeaks: The CIA 'Weaponized' Apple, Samsung And Microsoft Products For Surveillance Purposes

Qihoo 360 Investors Approve Merger Agreement, Company To Be Acquired By Consortium Of Investors For $9.3 Billion