'Chinese hackers' were sniffing SE Asian drawers for YEARS

Nefarious, gov-sponsored, secret-grabbing life begins APT 30

Security researchers have exposed a decade-long cyber-spying campaign that targeted south-east Asia and India since 2004.

The so-called APT 30 hackers are likely to be agents of the Chinese government, according to network security company FireEye.

APT 30's primary goal appears to be the theft of sensitive information for government espionage purposes. Its malware includes the ability to steal information (such as specific file types), including the ability to infect removable drives, a tactic that offers the potential to hack computers not connected to the internet for security reasons.

The group is particularly interested in regional political, military, and economic issues, disputed territories, and media organisations and journalists reporting on topics pertaining to China. The vast majority of APT 30’s victims are in Southeast Asia, including in Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Nepal, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia and others.

Based on an analysis of 200 malware samples linked to the group, FireEye concluded its malware has "a structured and organised workflow", and a "coherent development approach". What it describes is a factory for mass producing and refining trojans and spyware that's probably geared towards supplying the Chinese government with intelligence.

Unusually, APT 30’s attack tools, tactics and procedures (TTPs) have remained largely unchanged for years. This may indicate that APT 30 has been consistently successful in compromising targets, demonstrating the need for better detection capabilities. The campaign shows that state-sponsored data theft is a global problem, FireEye concludes.

FireEye's intel report on APT 30 can be found here (PDF). Its main conclusions are summarised in a blog post here. ®

Similar topics

Broader topics

Narrower topics

Other stories you might like

  • Tesla driver charged with vehicular manslaughter after deadly Autopilot crash

    Prosecution seems to be first of its kind in America

    A Tesla driver has seemingly become the first person in the US to be charged with vehicular manslaughter for a deadly crash in which the vehicle's Autopilot mode was engaged.

    According to the cops, the driver exited a highway in his Tesla Model S, ran a red light, and smashed into a Honda Civic at an intersection in Gardena, Los Angeles County, in late 2019. A man and woman in the second car were killed. The Tesla driver and a passenger survived and were taken to hospital.

    Prosecutors in California charged Kevin George Aziz Riad, 27, in October last year though details of the case are only just emerging, according to AP on Tuesday. Riad, a limousine service driver, is facing two counts of vehicular manslaughter, and is free on bail after pleading not guilty.

    Continue reading
  • AMD returns to smartphone graphics with new Samsung chip for your pocket computer

    We're back in black

    AMD's GPU technology is returning to mobile handsets with Samsung's Exynos 2200 system-on-chip, which was announced on Tuesday.

    The Exynos 2200 processor, fabricated using a 4nm process, has Armv9 CPU cores and the oddly named Xclipse GPU, which is an adaptation of AMD's RDNA 2 mainstream GPU architecture.

    AMD was in the handheld GPU market until 2009, when it sold the Imageon GPU and handheld business for $65m to Qualcomm, which turned the tech into the Adreno GPU for its Snapdragon family. AMD's Imageon processors were used in devices from Motorola, Panasonic, Palm and others making Windows Mobile handsets.

    Continue reading
  • Big shock: Guy who fled political violence and became rich in tech now struggles to care about political violence

    'I recognize that I come across as lacking empathy,' billionaire VC admits

    Billionaire tech investor and ex-Facebook senior executive Chamath Palihapitiya was publicly blasted after he said nobody really cares about the reported human rights abuse of Uyghur Muslims in China.

    The blunt comments were made during the latest episode of All-In, a podcast in which Palihapitiya chats to investors and entrepreneurs Jason Calacanis, David Sacks, and David Friedberg about technology.

    The group were debating the Biden administration’s response to what's said to be China's crackdown of Uyghur Muslims when Palihapitiya interrupted and said: “Nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs, okay? ... I’m telling you a very hard ugly truth, okay? Of all the things that I care about … yes, it is below my line.”

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022