Pictured: The Forbidden City, in Beijing. Experts say Chinese APT operations use a mix of proprietary and publicly available tools to spy on institutions around the world. (Frédéric Soltan/Corbis via Getty Images)

Chinese APT operations have an army of coders at their disposal, and an array of advanced malicious tools. But some of their most important hacking tools aren’t even their own proprietary code. Much like other state-sponsored threat groups, they also rely on publicly available or open-source software that they can abuse for their own nefarious purposes – going as far as to monitor hacking forums to see the latest developments in code.

Many of these tools can be used for innocent purposes, but in the wrong hands, a helpful pen testing program can easily become a hacking aid used to spy on businesses, governments and other targets of interest.

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