China has denied U.S.-based cybersecurity firm’s claims that it was behind a “coordinated” cyberattack against dozens of Israeli organizations.
FireEye, a company headquartered in Milpitas, California, alleged in a report on August 10 that Chinese spies masquerading as Iranian hackers attacked dozens of Israeli public and private sector groups for two years.
This report comes on the heels of the July 19, 2021, announcements by governments in North America, Europe, and Asia and intragovernmental organizations, such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and the European Union, condemning widespread cyber espionage conducted on behalf of the Chinese Government.
The alleged Chinese intruders used a hacking tool previously associated with Iranian operatives, and embedded some of their malicious code with Farsi, the predominant language in Iran. It was part of a broader campaign to gather intelligence at organizations in other Middle East and Central Asian countries that has continued this year, according to FireEye.
The goal, according to a report in the Jerusalem Post, seems to have been to “gain intelligence into achieving better negotiation outcomes in terms of pricing by viewing internal email discussions and assessments, and to appropriate certain key technological developments where possible.”
The report said the attack is tied to a wide series of cyber exploitation of holes in Microsoft’s Sharepoint announced by the Israel National Cyber Directorate (INCD) in 2019 while adding that its “maximum impact is not being felt currently.”
Haaretz, in its report, termed it the “largest and the most widespread” operation, which also targeted the Israeli regime’s military and spying bodies.
FireEye has not pinpointed which Chinese government entity may have sponsored the espionage. It also did not identify the victims of the hacking, saying only that there were “multiple, concurrent operations against Israeli government institutions, IT providers and telecommunications entities beginning in January 2019.”
Reacting to the latest hacking claims, the Chinese embassy in the Israeli-occupied territories termed the report “baseless accusations” for “political purposes,” asserting that China is a “staunch upholder of cybersecurity.”
“In fact, China is a major victim of cyberattacks. According to statistics from China’s National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team, about 52,000 malicious program command and control servers located outside China took control of about 5.31 million computer hosts in China in 2020, which seriously undermined,” the embassy said in a statement,