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US accuses Chinese 'Panda Putter' group of cyber espionage campaign

Group reportedly targeting US and European businesses in space and satellite industry
Tue Jun 10 2014, 13:32

The Putter Panda malware has been traced to ChinaUS SECURITY FIRM Crowdstrike has accused the Chinese government of conducting a sophisticated cyber espionage campaign against US and European businesses in the space and satellite industry.

Crowdstrike published a detailed report on Monday in which it revealed its research on malware that was found spying on high-tech firms involved in aerospace and communications industries.

It traced the malware right to a group called "Panda Putter" located the heart of China, in a building in Shanghai that Crowdstrike said was likely being run by the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) 3rd Department 12th Bureau Unit 61486.

Crowdstrike outed a man named Chen Ping, aka "cpyy", as a member of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) who was responsible for buying domains associated with Panda Putter.

Crowdstrike said the attacks targeted organisations through popular business tools such as Adobe Reader and Microsoft Office to deploy custom malware via email.

Crowdstrike CEO George Kurtz wrote that its findings were more proof that the Chinese government is fully complicit in the hacking of Western industries, and proved that the US was right to file charges against Chinese officials last month.

"China's decade-long economic espionage campaign is massive and unrelenting. Through widespread espionage campaigns, Chinese threat actors are targeting companies and governments in every part of the globe," he said.

"Targeted economic espionage campaigns compromise technological advantage, diminish global competition, and ultimately have no geographic borders."

In response, a member of China's foreign ministry dismissed the allegations and repeated the line that the US is far more guilty of cyber hacking than China.

"The United States cannot pretend that it is the victim. They are a hacker empire. I think everyone in the world knows this," spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

The latest research echoes a similar report by security firm Mandiant that traced another hacker group to Shanghai.

The US recently filed charges against five Chinese PLA officials in response to the Mandiant report. In response, China said it would start vetting Western technology and accused the US of hypocrisy in light of the Snowden spying revelations. µ


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