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Chinese hackers ‘plant malware’ on Greek and Norwegian cargo ships | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker

A hacking group linked to China has been introducing malware into the computer systems of cargo vessels, a cyber security firm has claimed.

NBC cited Slovakia-based ESET as saying the cyber espionage group known as Mustang Panda has been carrying out the operation over the past five months against Norwegian, Greek and Dutch-controlled ships.

The idea is to gain remote access to systems.

Some devices may have been planted on board vessels themselves, ESET said.

UK and US officials have warned this week of a growing cyber security threat from China.

But the country has denied the claims.

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The shadowy Mustang Panda group has been accused of carrying out espionage against governments and other organisations in Asia and Europe.

It attempts to break in through email, malicious websites or vulnerable software.

But USB devices may also be planted at company offices or on ships.

ESET said this is the first time that a China-linked group has focused on commercial shipping.

Interest in shipping

“We haven’t seen this in the past,” Robert Lipovsky, principal threat intelligence researcher at ESET, told NBC.

“It shows a clear interest in this sector. This was not a single occurrence. These were several distinct attacks at different, unrelated organisations,” he said.

A spokesman for China’s embassy in Washington said: “We oppose any groundless smears and accusations against China. In fact, China is a major victim of cyber attacks.

“We keep a firm stance against all forms of cyber attacks and resort to lawful methods in tackling them. China does not encourage, support or condone attacks launched by hackers,” the spokesman added.


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