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Private report details extent of China’s vast cyber espionage program

February 27, 2013

The Mandiant Corporation has released a reportdetailing the extent of China’s cyber espionage program – including theft of data from nearly 150 entities, most of them in the US.  The report identifies the most active Chinese cyber threat as APT1 and makes a compelling case that this is a unit of the People’s Liberation Army.  You can find the full report at the link above or the summary (highlights reprinted below) here.

  • APT1 is believed to be the 2nd Bureau of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) General Staff Department’s (GSD) 3rd Department, which is most commonly known by its Military Unit Cover Designator (MUCD) as Unit 61398.
  • APT1 has systematically stolen hundreds of terabytes of data from at least 141 organizations.
  • APT1 focuses on compromising organizations across a broad range of industries in English-speaking countries.
  • APT1 maintains an extensive infrastructure of computer systems around the world.
  • In over 97% of the 1,905 times Mandiant observed APT1 intruders connecting to their attack infrastructure, APT1 used IP addresses registered in Shanghai and systems set to use the Simplified Chinese language.
  • The size of APT1’s infrastructure implies a large organization with at least dozens, but potentially hundreds of human operators.
  • In an effort to underscore that there are actual individuals behind the keyboard, Mandiant is revealing three personas that are associated with APT1 activity.
  • Mandiant is releasing more than 3,000 indicators to bolster defenses against APT1 operations.
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