Cybersecurity company says Chinese hackers targeting Southeast Asian nations

A cybersecurity company based in the U.S. alleged on Wednesday that Chinese hackers have been targeting both government and private sector entities in Southeast Asia. 

The Insikt Group said in a report that the hackers are thought to be potentially state-sponsored, as the attacks “almost certainly support key strategic aims of the Chinese government.”

It said that Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam were the top targets of the attacks, though other countries were impacted as well. 

The company’s report added that prime minister’s offices, navies, ministries of defense, and other military and government groups within the targeted countries have been targets of attacks.

“We believe this activity is highly likely to be a state actor as the observed long term targeted intrusions into high value government and political targets is consistent with cyberespionage activity, coupled with identified technical links to known Chinese state-sponsored activity,” the group told The Associated Press.

Some of the attacks have been conducted over the past several months using tools such as FunnyDream and Chinoxy, which are malware systems used by groups believed to be Chinese state-sponsored and not publicly available, the AP reported.

Though China’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to the AP’s request for comment on the allegations, the wire service reported that it has typically denied state-sponsored hacking and alleged that China is, in fact, the target of cyberattacks.

Last month, Japan and Vietnam agreed to collaborate on cybersecurity and space defense amid the countries growing concerns about China. At that time, Japan’s Defense Ministry specifically cited cyberattacks as part of their concerns about increased security threats regarding China. 


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