Microsoft thwarts China’s spying on 29 countries; seizes 42 websites used by hackers

Microsoft said on Monday it had foiled espionage attempts by a state-backed Chinese hacking group by seizing more than 42 websites that allegedly gathered intelligence from foreign ministries, think tanks and organizations. human rights advocates from 29 different countries, including the United States.

The tech giant had sought permission from the Virginia federal court to seize at least 42 web domains that dated back to a major Chinese hacking group known as Nickel, or other names such as APT15 and Vixen Panda. , revealed several reports on Monday.

The sites were operating in favor of China’s geopolitical interests, and Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit clamped down on the traffic, redirecting the linked traffic to secure the servers. The action “helped us protect existing and future victims while learning more about Nickel’s business,” Microsoft said in a press release.

While the Chinese hacking base targeted both the private and public sectors, Microsoft reportedly revealed that its own servers were secure and that the company found no vulnerabilities in Microsoft products related to malicious websites. Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) has been tracking Nickel since 2016 and collecting data on its activities since 2019.

Microsoft’s corporate vice president, Tom Burt, said in an article: “Getting control of malicious websites and redirecting traffic from those sites to Microsoft’s secure servers will help us protect existing victims. and future while learning more about Nickel’s business. “

“Our disruption will not prevent Nickel from continuing other hacking activities, but we believe we have removed a key piece of the infrastructure the group was relying on for this latest wave of attacks,” he said. added.

Chinese “spy” convicted by US court for “economic espionage”

A Chinese national and deputy division director of the sixth office in Jiangsu Province [Ministry of State Security] was convicted by the United States federal jury earlier this month for conspiring and attempting to commit economic espionage and the theft of trade secrets.

Yanjun Xu, 41, became the first Chinese intelligence officer to be extradited and to stand trial in connection with a spy case in the United States.

The US Department of Justice has declared the Chinese intelligence officer “guilty in all respects” for illegally using various pseudonyms dating back to 2013 to steal trade secrets from major US airlines, the Chinese public affairs office said. US Department of Justice in a press release, citing Federal Court documents.