While cyberattacks on American companies and critical infrastructure have largely been associated with Russian actors over the past several months, China has emerged as a prime cyberthreat to the United States this week. On Monday, Acting US Attorney for the Southern District of California Randy Grossman announced the indictment of Chinese officials, calling this prosecution “unique” because the four accused had been conducting “a cyber hacking and economic espionage campaign led by the government of China.”
US allies, including NATO, the EU, Australia, Britain, Canada, Japan and New Zealand joined with the US in accusing China of a “global cyberespionage campaign, mustering an unusually broad coalition of countries for an initiative angrily rejected by Beijing,” Reuters reported. On Tuesday, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry rejected the accusations and “demanded that Washington drop charges,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
Additionally, The Washington Post reported, “Military-grade spyware licensed by an Israeli firm to governments for tracking terrorists and criminals was used in attempted and successful hacks of 37 smartphones belonging to journalists, human rights activists, business executives and two women close to murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.” In fact, Pegasus continued to make headlines this week. The aforementioned report prompted French President Emmanuel Macron to get a new phone and phone number. Macron also “held an emergency meeting on cybersecurity at the Élysée Palace,” France24.com reported.
Let’s take a look at what other newsworthy events happened in our industry this week.
July 23: As the summer Olympics kick off in Tokyo, law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, are reportedly on guard, anticipating that the games could be the target of cyberattacks from foreign adversaries.
July 22: Kaseya reportedly received a key from a trusted third party that will decrypt its systems, which have been locked up since the company (and consequently hundreds of its customers) fell victim to a ransomware attack earlier this month.
July 22: “The National Institute of Standards and Technology selected 18 tech companies to demonstrate zero-trust security architectures as it drafts guidance for agencies and industry,” FedScoop reported.
July 21: “Cybercriminals are taking closer aim at Apple machines, as indicated in recent reports that describe multiple occurrences of Windows-focused malware rewritten to target macOS devices,” Dark Reading reported.
July 21: BleepingComputer reported, “A highly popular malware for stealing information from Windows systems has been modified into a new strain called XLoader, which can also target macOS systems.”
July 21: The Washington Post looked at a variety of different payment apps to find which is best for privacy and low fees.
July 21: The US Department of Justice announced, “A citizen of the United Kingdom was arrested today in Estepona, Spain, by Spanish National Police pursuant to a U.S. request for his arrest on multiple charges in connection with the July 2020 hack of Twitter that resulted in the compromise of over 130 Twitter accounts, including those belonging to politicians, celebrities and companies.”
July 20: CISA (Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency) issued a joint advisory with the FBI announcing that Chinese actors used a spearphishing and intrusion campaign to gain access to US oil and natural gas pipeline companies from December 2011 to 2013.
July 20: The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) issued a new security directive requiring pipeline operators to improve their cybersecurity defenses.
July 19: A forensic report conducted by Amnesty International and a group of media outlets found that hackers were able to infect Apple phones with texts sent through iMessage, according to Business Insider.July 19: MITRE Engenuity has released its latest ATT&CK Evaluations, which is focused on Industrial Control Systems.