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Chinese hackers targeted U.S. infrastructure, warn Five Eyes, including Canada

WASHINGTON — The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security is warning about evidence that Chinese hackers have been targeting critical infrastructure networks in the U.S. 

The alert issued earlier today is part of a broader, co-ordinated effort by the Five Eyes countries — Canada, the U.S., the U.K., New Zealand and Australia — to raise awareness of the threat. 

The U.S. National Security Agency says it has identified “indicators of compromise” linked to a state-sponsored cyber actor from China. 

The NSA says it’s an especially sophisticated breach that uses existing network administration tools to cover its tracks, known as a “living off the land” technique. 

Today’s alert also includes detailed instructions for “network defenders” on how to find evidence of a breach.  

Canadian officials say there have been no reports of any systems inside Canada being targeted.

“The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security joins its international partners in sharing this newly identified threat and accompanying mitigation measures with critical infrastructure sectors,” agency head Sami Khoury said in a statement.

“The interconnected nature of our infrastructures and economies highlights the importance of working together with our allies to identify and share real-time threat information.”

Other agencies taking part in today’s announcement include the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the FBI, and cybersecurity agencies in Australia, New Zealand and the U.K.  

“A (People’s Republic of China) state-sponsored actor is living off the land, using built-in network tools to evade our defences and leaving no trace behind,” said Rob Joyce, the NSA’s cybersecurity director. 

“That makes it imperative for us to work together to find and remove the actor from our critical networks.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 24, 2023.

The Canadian Press