Several Southeast Asian nations’ military and civilian organizations were targeted this year by Chinese hackers. According to the US-based cybersecurity firm Insikt Group, the affected countries particularly included those with similar territorial claims or strategic infrastructure projects as China, suggesting the state’s involvement.

The top three targeted countries include Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Other countries included the Philippines, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand. The hackers also focused on the offices of Prime Ministers of Thailand and Malaysia, the offices of Foreign Ministers of Indonesia and Malaysia, and their military offices.

Insikt Group, in its report, said that all the intrusion campaigns were strategically aimed at gathering intelligence on countries that were engaged in the South China Sea territorial disputes or related to projects and countries that were strategically important to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

As per Insikt Group, most activities of these hackers were identified to a Chinese state-sponsored entity labelled as Threat Activity Group 16.

However, brushing aside the Insikt Group’s findings, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said yesterday that they were against such reports, which spread disinformation for political purposes aiming to mislead the international community and sow hatred between regional countries.

Previously in September, China has also dismissed a report by the US-based cybersecurity company Recorded Future, which stated that Chinese state-sponsored hackers were believed to have infiltrated and stolen data from an Indian government agency.

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By- Shubham Kumar

 (Content Writer, WCSF)

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