Security researchers said on Wednesday that hackers linked to the Chinese government were trying to access sensitive information from dozens of global organizations.
Security firm Cybereason released investigations into a cyberattack believed to be aimed at stealing confidential proprietary information from technology and manufacturing companies primarily in East Asia, Western Europe and North America.
The group said it had “medium to high confidence” that the attack was linked to the Winnti APT group, which specializes in cyberespionage and intellectual property theft and is believed to be working for the interests of the Chinese state.
In a statement, Cybereason CEO and co-founder Lior Div said the group had undertaken “complicated and extensive efforts” to gather information from the organizations.
“The most alarming revelation is that the companies were unaware they were being breached, some going back to at least 2019, giving Winnti free, unfiltered access to intellectual property, blueprints, sensitive diagrams and other proprietary data,” said Div.
The attack is considered by Cybereason to be “one of the largest IP theft campaigns of its kind from China”.
The security firm said it had notified both the FBI and the Justice Department of the findings of its investigation.
When asked about the report, Chinese embassy spokesman Liu Pengyu told CNN that China “will never encourage, support or condone cyberattacks.”
“China resists unfounded speculation and allegations about hacking,” Liu continued. “If the company really cares [sic] In terms of global cybersecurity, they should pay more attention to the cyberattacks by US government-sponsored hackers on China and other countries.”
Last month, China made more headlines for cybersecurity concerns after Beijing allegedly launched a major cyberattack on Ukraine’s military and nuclear facilities before Moscow invaded the country.
At the time, the British newspaper The Times reported that Ukraine’s security service accused the Chinese government of attempting to hack over 600 websites linked to the government and other important institutions.