APT41, also known as Double Dragon, Barium, Winnti, Rogue Panda, and a few other names are popular for this Chinese hacking group. This hacking organization has alleged links with the Chinese Ministry of State Security. 5 members of this Chinese hacking group are already on the most wanted list of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
In an investigation, it was found that a Cyber Operation conducted by a Chinese hacker group APT 41 compromised more than 30 multinational companies’ networks and stole their intellectual property and sensitive data including blueprint diagrams of fighter jets and missiles. The notorious Chinese state-sponsored hackers, APT 41 exfiltrated a few Terabytes of intellectual property and documents related to manufacturing and data related to cutting-edge technologies from companies based in North America, Europe, and Asia.
Chinese Hacking Group APT 41 was in Effect for a long period!
It is suspected that this cyber attack campaign has been going on unnoticed scenarios since early 2019s. Since all the data that has been stolen till now is proprietary data, most of them were not patent. All the exfiltrated data from the affected list of companies can be used to launch another cyber attack in the future for extortion.
The investigating team has not disclosed the list of affected companies however, they have informed in common that Blueprints, Diagrams are related to fighter jets, helicopters, and missiles. A few of the stolen data contain processes related to pharmaceuticals. They have noticed the APT 41 hacking group stealing IP of drugs around diabetes, obesity, and depression.
A series of Cyber Attacks were attempted by Chinese Hackers!
They have also targeted power companies involved in manufacturing solar panels and stolen designs of edge vacuum system technology. Till date, they have exfiltrated a tedious amount of intellectual property data that they can duplicate the complicated engineering processes, including rocket-propelled weapons.
Since the attack was not noticeable by most of the victim companies, the Winnti or APT 41 hacking group used zero-day vulnerabilities and a few known but undocumented malware to infiltrate their network. They used a multi-stage infection chain and digitally signed kernel-level rootkits to infect the computer infrastructure. The suspect hacking group focused on establishing a persistent connection with the infected system so that even after the discovery of 1st malware, they could tap into the system.
Total Loss APT 41 Chinese Hackers Cause to the MNCs
In the report, the FBI estimated that the annual cost of counterfeit goods and pirated software is between 225 billion to 600 billion dollars. For this Intellectual property theft, the investigators believe that the cost estimate is not in billions but more than trillions of US dollars. However, the researchers also noted that it is difficult to accurately predict the impact of this operation due to the complexity and sophistication of the attack.
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