China-backed hackers behind cyber crimes: Australian Cybersecurity Agency

Australia’s cybersecurity agency, the Australian Cyber Security Centre, has pointed fingers at a China-backed hacker group for allegedly breaching security protocols and stealing passwords and usernames from unspecified Australian networks in 2022. The report identified the group as APT40, linking their activities to China’s Ministry of State Security, responsible for foreign intelligence operations.

This accusation comes amidst a joint report involving cybersecurity agencies from the United States, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, and Germany, highlighting ongoing cyber threats posed by APT40. The report underlines concerns over malicious cyber operations and overlaps with previously tracked groups engaged in cyber espionage.

Responding to the allegations, China’s embassy in Australia did not immediately issue a comment. The accusations add to growing international scrutiny, following similar allegations by U.S. and British officials earlier this year, accusing China of widespread cyber espionage targeting millions, including lawmakers, academics, journalists, and defense contractors.

In a statement, Australian Defence Minister Richard Marles emphasized the government’s commitment to defending against cyber threats, marking this as the first time Australia has led such a high-profile cyber attribution effort. This development occurs against the backdrop of strained diplomatic relations between Australia and China, which have seen periods of tension, notably escalating in 2020 over the COVID-19 origins investigation.


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