Critical Infrastructure Security, Malware, Threat Intelligence

Report: China-linked group used malware to access commercial shipping systems

Data protection, binary code with China flag

NBC News reports that malware was used by the Chinese cyber espionage group Mustang Panda to gain access to cargo shipping companies' computer systems in Greece, the Netherlands, and Norway over a five-month period, including systems on board the cargo ships.

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According to researchers at cyber security firm ESET, this is the first time espionage of this type was documented for commercial shipping vessels, where a remote access trojan type of malware was used.

The attacks indicate threat actors are clearly interested in this sector as the incidents happened to unrelated organizations, said Robert Lipovsky, principal threat intelligence researcher at ESET.

The report's release came just as U.S. and UK officials warned on Tuesday of heightened cyber espionage and hacking threats from China during a cybersecurity conference in the UK.

Liu Pengyu, a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington firmly denied the accusations saying China itself was a key target of cyberattacks.

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