China starts ‘cyber-espionage battle’ on Russia with malware plot, report claims

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A CHINESE affiliated hacker group is targeting Russians using malware disguised as legitimate documents and downloads, cyber security experts have claimed.

China’s alleged actions against Russia is another twist in the complex relationship between the two countries.

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Chinese President Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin are the unquestioned authorities of their respective nations

Presently, China has not condemned Russia for its military actions in Ukraine – but they are reportedly altering their cyber position in response to the matter, The Register reports.

Researchers for  American cybersecurity company Secureworks said in a report: “The war in Ukraine has prompted many countries to deploy their cyber capabilities to gain insight about global events, political machinations, and motivations.

“This desire for situational awareness often extends to collecting intelligence from allies and ‘friends’.”

The two frenemy nations have shared, messy feelings toward the United States as the West races to cripple Russia’s economy following the invasion of Ukraine.

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The Chinese threat groups have infiltrated servers with a decoy document written in English, the security researchers claim.

If clicked, the decoy document allegedly installs three additional malicious files.

Part of the scheme is a malware initiative called PlugX that gives the hackers “access to the compromised host to extract sensitive system information, upload and download files, and execute a remote command shell,” according to the cybersecurity company.

Programs like PlugX are dubbed “remote access trojans” or RATs that give hackers unadulterated control of a device.

A trail of clues led researchers to the Chinese-affiliated hacker group responsible for the sting on Russia.

Researchers determined that the hacks against Russia are similarly designed to those that affected the Vatican in 2020.

Experts attribute both hacks to the same Chinese actors.

The global stage is fraught with tension as Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin plan to travel to Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv.

China turning its cyber sights on its neighbor adds a new wrinkle to an already highly pressurized diplomatic situation.

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