The Theresa May government on Thursday said the United Kingdom and its allies were naming “elements of the Chinese government” for allegedly indulging in an “extensive cyber campaign” targeting commercial secrets in Asia, Europe and the United States.
This is the first time that the UK government has publicly named elements of the Chinese government as being responsible for a cyber campaign.
The Foreign Office announced that a group known as APT 10 acted on behalf of the Chinese ministry of state security to carry out what it called “a malicious cyber campaign targeting intellectual property and sensitive commercial data” in various countries.
“The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) assesses with the highest level of probability that the group widely known as APT 10 is responsible for this sustained cyber campaign focused on large-scale service providers”, the office said in a statement. “The group almost certainly continues to target a range of global companies, seeking to gain access to commercial secrets”.
Foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “This campaign is one of the most significant and widespread cyber intrusions against the UK and allies uncovered to date, targeting trade secrets and economies around the world”.
“These activities must stop. They go against the commitments made to the UK in 2015, and, as part of the G20, not to conduct or support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property or trade secrets”.
The government, it said, will take forward further engagement with service providers to ensure they have robust protections in place against continuing and emerging cyber threats, adding that “it is clear that in some cases basic cyber security measures are still not being taken, and this is not acceptable”.
According to the NCSC assessment, it is likely that APT 10 has an enduring relationship with the Chinese ministry of state security, and operates to meet Chinese state requirements. Given the high confidence assessment and the broader context, the UK government has made the judgement that the Chinese ministry of state security was responsible, the official said.
© 2018 the Hindustan Times (New Delhi)
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