(NewsReady.com) – Hackers have launched a major attack on the US government, with multiple networks compromised. At the same time, China appears to have penetrated hundreds of networks around the world. It’s a dramatic reminder that our modern, connected world is vulnerable to hostile states.
On June 15, the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said it was “providing support to several federal agencies” after they suffered cyber attacks. The hackers targeted MOVEit, a file transfer application used by many businesses and government agencies. In May, criminals discovered a vulnerability in the software, and a cybercrime gang called CI0P — which experts believe is based in Russia — began attacks on May 27. Early victims included the BBC, British Airways and the provincial government of Nova Scotia. On June 7, the gang released a blog post saying it had gained access to MOVEit systems and targets had until June 14 to start negotiating ransoms or their data would be released. Now CISA has admitted that several US government agencies, including NASA and the Department of Energy — which controls our nuclear weapons — had been attacked.
In what looks like a separate attack, a tech security firm said “a suspected China-nexus actor” had used an email vulnerability to hack organizations in at least 16 countries. Mandiant, which is owned by Google, says the attack targeted the Barracuda Email Security Gateway and could have been running since last October. Barracuda discovered the problem in May and updated their software — but the hackers adapted their own tools and continued the attack.
Unlike the MOVEit attack, this one doesn’t seem to have been carried out by criminals; according to Mandiant, it’s Chinese espionage. Almost a third of the targets are government agencies, which are regular targets for spies. China has also gained a reputation for aggressively stealing industrial secrets. If we don’t want our own technology used against us in the future, CISA needs to do a better job of protecting information from communist spies.
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