Chinese hackers are targeting political issues and universities in Taiwan and Hong Kong, according to Microsoft’s 2021 Digital Defense Report. As per the report, which covered the period between July 2020 and June 2021, government entities account for 47% of hackers’ targets, reported Taiwan Times. The “Chromium” cyber activity group targeted important social, economic, and political concerns surrounding Hong Kong and Taiwan, as well as China’s neighbours India, Malaysia, Mongolia, Pakistan, and Thailand. Chromium was actively targeting universities in Hong Kong and Taiwan, as they serve as centres for Beijing resistance groups. Besides, they also targeted government bodies and telecommunication providers in the other nations, claimed the report.
The report suggests that Chinese nation-state hackers are not only interested in stealing intellectual property, but also “target the US political environment for insight into policy movements. It also stated that they will continue to be a concern to entities seeking intelligence on investments and discussions related to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. However, China did not even come close to being at the top of the list for the majority of cyber-attacks launched as Russia accounted for 58% of state-sponsored hacking in the past year. It largely targeted government agencies and think tanks in the United States, followed by Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and European NATO allies, claimed Microsoft’s report.
‘Russian state-backed hackers’ success rate surged to 32%’
The long-unnoticed SolarWinds hack – which mostly targeted information technology companies like Microsoft – pushed Russian state-backed hackers’ success rate to 32% this year, up from 21% the year before. China, on the other hand, accounted for less than one out of every ten state-sponsored hacking attempts detected by Microsoft, but was successful 44 % of the time in breaking into targeted networks. The report stated that Ransomware attacks are a severe and growing problem, with the United States by far the most targeted country. These attacks are usually criminal and financially motivated. State-sponsored hacking, on the other hand, is mainly about acquiring intelligence – whether for national security, commercial, or geopolitical gain – and is thus widely condoned by governments, with US cyber operators among the most skilled. Microsoft’s report, which works closely with Washington government agencies, does not address government hacking in the United States, reported The Associated Press (AP).