Germany on alert for Chinese cyber-attacks and threats to critical infrastructure

Following recent hacks, and intelligence from the US, the German Office of Information Security this week alerted German firms at risk of being targeted by Chinese hacks

Pixabay photo by karlherl

Pixabay photo by karlherl

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- After a tip from the United States intelligence community, Germany’s Office for Information Security (BSI) has issued a warning to several German companies which are considered potential targets for Chinese cyber-espionage operations.

The Sueddeutsche Zeitung, a German newspaper quoting an anonymous source, said that Chinese hackers may be targeting companies involved in“construction and materials research, engineering firms and big commercial enterprises.”

The warning provided to the German BSI is reportedly related to a series of cyber-attacks dubbed “Cloudhopper” carried out by Chinese hackers. In the near future, the U.S. Department of Justice is expected to announce indictments for Chinese individuals related to these operations.

According to Reuters, the Cloudhopper operations “target technology service providers and their customers.”

The Sueddeutsche Zeitung also reported that thousands of messages between European leaders and government officials from other nations were obtained by Chinese hackers recently in successful cyber-attack on an internal EU network.

The illegally obtained documents provide the Chinese government with sensitive information from talks held between EU officials and leaders of the United States, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Russia.

Earlier this week, social media platform Twitter announced that user data may have been compromised during a November cyber-attack thought to be carried out by state-sponsored agents in China.

Last week, the U.S. Navy announced that it would conduct a comprehensive security review of potential vulnerabilities to cyber-attacks after it was reported that several Navy contractors had been the target of Chinese hacks.

Following the intelligence warning from the U.S. along with recent reports of Chinese hacking and concerns of Russian cyber-attacks, the German cabinet passed a measure Wednesday that will allow for greater government scrutiny and oversight into purchases and investment in the country made by non-European entities which could compromise the country’s critical infrastructure, reports the Business Telegraph.