Chinese cyberattacks against the US have resumed

Following a few years of decreased Chinese cyberattacks against the US, a new report from CrowdStrike indicates a resumption in hacking activities.

CrowdStrike’s annual Global Threat Report highlights notable changes in the cybersecurity sphere. This year’s report, titled ‘Adversary Tradecraft and the Importance of Speed’, notes China is collecting intelligence for its ‘Made in China 2025’ plan.

The plan aims to maintain China’s lead in manufacturing amid global changes. With the US and its allies seeking to block Chinese telecoms companies such as Huawei from 5G networks, telecoms is one industry China could fall behind.

CrowdStrike notes Chinese hackers took a particular interest in the telecoms and hospitality sectors over the past year. Information about these industries could provide Chinese firms with an edge in the years to come.

Many Chinese firms are state-controlled and must all, whether foreign or domestic, have a Communist Party committee to abide by the law.

Back in 2015, ex-US President Barack Obama agreed with Chinese President Xi Jinping to halt state-sponsored cyberattacks to steal information from each nation. A downturn in cyberattacks was noted for a couple of years.

“By 2017 they started coming back and throughout 2018 they were back in full force, They have been very active and we expect to see that continue,” Adam Myers, VP at CrowdStrike told Bloomberg.

Major corporations including Boeing, T-Mobile, and General Electric Aviation have been targeted. Even the US Navy was hacked to obtain data such as missile plans and ship maintenance data. Last December, two Chinese men were arrested on accusations of stealing government and military data.

Tensions between the US and China have increased over the so-called ‘trade war’ initiated by President Trump, which CrowdStrike ventures is part of the reason behind the increased Chinese hacking activities. Some believe the US’ attempts to pressure allies into banning Chinese 5G equipment manufacturers is part of this trade war.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo even warned the country's allies last week against using Huawei’s technology as it would make it more difficult for Washington to "partner alongside them".

There are, however, serious concerns about the security implications of allowing Chinese firms in Western networks based on the state’s past actions.

A report yesterday argued the UK would be ‘naive’ to allow Huawei to participate in 5G networks. The report, from the world's oldest independent think tank on international defence and security, highlighted Beijing’s history of using cyberattacks on the West to advance Chinese interests.

While there was a period of relative calm for a couple of years, it seems China and the US are fully back to engaging in a covert digital war.

(Photo by Alondra Olivas on Unsplash)

Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their experiences? Attend the Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London, and Amsterdam to learn more.

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