Chinese Hackers Compromise Five Telecommunication Companies

Deyan Georgiev
Deyan Georgiev

Updated · Feb 21, 2022

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Chinese government-backed cybercriminal gangs hacked five telecommunications firms spread across the globe. From 2017 to 2021, they have managed to steal victims’ location data and phone records.

Group-3390 and Naikon Behind the Heist

The gangs exploited vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Exchange servers to get into the systems. Apparently, it was happening months long before the American Multinational went public with its allegations. 

China has so far denied the allegations.

According to Lior Div, Cybereason Inc’s Chief Executive Officer, the hackers managed to take complete control of the networks. Their main agenda was to access political activists, government officials, law enforcement agencies, and Chinese government rivals’ private information.

Div termed the seizure “the holy grail of hacks.”

He refused to name the specific telecom establishments and victim countries. He disclosed, however, that the intrusion mainly affected some countries that had clashed with China in the past.

Adverse Effects on National Security

Cybereason warned that the state-sponsored criminal activity would have not only an impact on the telcos’ customer base but also the countries in the region. That’s because it poses a great threat to their national security. 

Dominic Raab, the United Kingdom Foreign Secretary, weighed in on the matter. He said that China must face dire consequences for its actions.

Seasoned Hackers 

Cyber experts on the case described the hackers as very experienced and adaptive. According to the cybersecurity firm, they easily evaded detection. 

Findings showed that one of the groups hid behind an antivirus software. Another concealed its malicious activity in users’ recycle bins. There was also one that acted as a keylogger to spy on what users were typing on their devices. For that, it used PotPlayer, a popular multimedia player from South Korea.

The Statistics

Cybercrime has gone up by 400% since the start of the pandemic. Not only that, but the average cost of data breaches costs businesses about $3.92 million

Fortunately, there are lots of reliable antivirus solutions in the market to put hackers at bay. 

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Deyan Georgiev

Deyan Georgiev

Deyan has been fascinated by technology his whole life. From the first Tetris game all the way to Falcon Heavy. Working for TechJury is like a dream come true, combining both his passions – writing and technology. In his free time (which is pretty scarce, thanks to his three kids), Deyan enjoys traveling and exploring new places. Always with a few chargers and a couple of gadgets in the backpack. He makes mean dizzying Island Paradise cocktails too.

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