TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Hackers from China have targeted political issues and universities in Taiwan and Hong Kong, Microsoft said in its 2021 Digital Defense Report, which covers the period between July 2020 and June 2021.
Cristin Goodwin, head of Microsoft’s Digital Security Unit, noted China’s geopolitical goals, reported AP. According to the October 2021 report, the “Chromium” cyber activity group targeted “sensitive social, economic, and political issues surrounding Hong Kong and Taiwan” in addition to China’s neighbors, such as India, Malaysia, Mongolia, Pakistan, and Thailand.
As universities in Taiwan and Hong Kong serve as hubs for Beijing resistance movements, Chromium “was most active against universities in Hong Kong and Taiwan, followed by government entities and telecommunication providers in the other countries.”
The findings mean that Chinese hackers are no longer just interested in stealing intellectual property, per Microsoft. Microsoft said it found that Chinese nation-state hackers “target the U.S. political landscape for insight into policy shifts,” and will remain a threat to entities as they seek to collect intelligence on investments and negotiations related to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
However, China was not even close to being on the top of the list for most cyber attacks launched. Instead, 58% of all cyber attack incidents originated from Russia, while Chinese hackers only launched 8%.
Out of these attacks, though, Chinese hackers had a 44% success rate, and was labeled by Microsoft as “an advanced persistent threat.”