Chinese hackers have heavily targeted makers of makers of microchips, computer networking equipment and data storage services to steal company secrets, Bloomberg reported Friday, citing the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The state-sponsored hackers are “exceedingly stealthy and agile” and have used customized malicious code that was undetected by security researchers and law enforcement.
The FBI issued the warning to technology companies, defense contractors and multinational corporations, hinting at stepped up US confrontations with China over alleged spying between the two countries, the report said
It said Beijing-backed hackers continue to operate even after the US indicted five Chinese military officials, accusing them of stealing trade secrets.
The warning provides information companies “can use to help determine whether their systems have been compromised by these actors and provides steps they can take to mitigate any continuing threats,” Joshua Campbell, an FBI spokesman, said in an e-mail.
The hackers are even more sophisticated than a group from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army whose activity was exposed by Mandiant Corp. in a February 2013 report.
Mandiant said that group likely was behind the hacking of at least 141 companies worldwide since 2006.
The hackers in the latest warning used at least four “zero-day” exploits in the attacks to compromise legitimate websites and deliver the malicious code, the FBI said.
Zero days are the crown jewels within a hackers’ toolbox because they exploit software flaws that are unknown to developers and security experts.
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