Chinese state-sponsored hackers have found clever ways to circumvent cybersecurity tools which have allowed them to get into the networks of governments and companies and spy on people, a practice they’ve been conducting for several years without detection, The Wall Street Journal reported.
According to Google researchers, the newly discovered hacking techniques are different from the usual cyber espionage Chinese hackers are known for.
“Instead of infiltrating systems behind the corporate firewall, they are compromising devices on the edge of the network — sometimes firewalls themselves — and targeting software built by companies such as VMware Inc. or Citrix Systems Inc,” the Journal said.
The researchers told the news outlet that the new hacking techniques “represent a new level of ingenuity and sophistication from China.”
This comes as tensions between the U.S. and China mount over a myriad of issues, including security concerns over TikTok, cyber espionage, election security, spy balloons and recent export control restrictions.
Just this week, the Biden administration threatened to ban TikTok in the U.S. if its Chinese-based parent company, ByteDance, did not sell its stake to an American company. This follows months of pressure from U.S. and state lawmakers, primarily Republicans, to ban the social media app, especially on government-issued devices.
U.S. officials have also recently raised the alarm on growing Chinese threats in cyberspace.
Earlier this month, U.S. Cyber Command Director Gen. Paul Nakasone said that China has become “a very capable force” and “a very formidable foe” in cyberspace.
And last month, an FBI cyber official warned state officials that Chinese hackers pose a “growing threat” and that their attempt to target political parties prior to the 2022 midterm election shows there will be “significant Chinese cyber activity … in the coming year,” CNN first reported.