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China’s APT threat exposed: Leak reveals business angle of cyber attacks

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TLDR:

  • Leaked documents from i-SOON, a cybersecurity firm in China, reveal their involvement in cyber espionage campaigns commissioned by Chinese government agencies.
  • Experts believe i-SOON works closely with China’s Ministry of Public Security and the military, having conducted cyber intrusions in the UK and Asia.

A new data leak from i-SOON sheds light on the business side of China’s state-sponsored hacking groups. The leaked documents show how the cybersecurity company is involved in cyber espionage campaigns on behalf of Chinese government agencies. i-SOON has been responsible for infiltrating government systems in the UK and various countries in Asia, highlighting the competitive cybersecurity industry in China. The leak also reveals candid employee conversations, the company’s close ties with the Chinese government, and the pursuit of government contracts.

Furthermore, the leaked documents indicate that i-SOON offers a range of cybersecurity services, including public security, anti-fraud, and enterprise security solutions. The leak also shows the company’s efforts to recruit new talent through hacking competitions and engagement activities. However, employee chat conversations suggest low morale and a toxic workplace environment within i-SOON. The leak, believed to be orchestrated by a disgruntled employee, offers rare insights into the inner workings of China’s cyber warfare operations.

Experts point out that China’s information asymmetry, maintained through its Great Firewall, allows the government to control data within the country while engaging in cyber operations against other nations. The leak underscores the evolving nature of China’s cyber espionage ecosystem and raises concerns about the country’s cyber capabilities. While the U.S. also contracts aspects of its cyber operations to the private sector, it does not engage in the wholesale theft of state and corporate secrets for commercial gain, as seen in China.

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