Apr 11 2008

Chinese hackers target US defense contractors

Published by at 9:34 am under US attacks

This is a fantastic article by Brian Grow, Keith Epstein and Chi-Chu Tschang on The New E-spionage Threat. The detail of the article and actual investigation are well worth reading.

The Pentagon hadn’t sent the e-mail at all. Its origin is unknown, but the message traveled through Korea on its way to Booz Allen. Its authors knew enough about the “sender” and “recipient” to craft a message unlikely to arouse suspicion. Had the Booz Allen executive clicked on the attachment, his every keystroke would have been reported back to a mysterious master at the Internet address cybersyndrome.3322.org, which is registered through an obscure company headquartered on the banks of China’s Yangtze River.

Continue reading…

The other part of the article I found interesting was the e-mail link from Wang Baodong, Press Counselor & Spokesperson Of the Chinese Embassy to the United States:

As I told you over phone, I read your questionnaire carefully, and I’m very much concerned about the purpose of your story—if it targets China and is aimed at fanning up a “China cyber threat”, I would strongly suggest that you do not do such stories as this would only serve the purpose of some anti-China forces, and is not conducive to increasing mutual understanding and friendship between the Chinese and American peoples.

More of Wang Baodong’s e-mail…

To me, this suggests that Chinese hackers may be going after what they consider the softer targets (as compared to those of the US military network) of US defense contractors. The e-mail sent to Booz Allen also demonstrates a very sophisticated method of net-reconnaissance and social-engineering.

Update (from jumper):  A good follow-up.

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