A new Chinese state hacking Group (APT) has infected me malware more than 200 systems throughout Southeast Asia in the last two years. According to its security researchers Bitdefender, The attacks/ these infections are part of a espionage campaign in cyberspace. The Chinese team behind them has been named FunnyDream.
The attacks mainly target governments of Southeast Asia. Bitdefender did not say exactly which countries were affected. However, a few months ago, the Kaspersky Lab had found FunnyDream victims in Malaysia, Taiwan, the Philippines and Vietnam (where most of them were victims).
Both security companies claim that the Chinese APT team FunnyDream is still active in the field of cyber espionage, with the aim of theft of sensitive documents from infected Appliances. In fact, η espionage focuses on national issues security and industry-related issues.
Similar attacks were discovered in 2018
According to Bitdefender researchers, most of these attacks have followed a simple pattern and combine three malware payloads: Chinoxy, PCShare and FunnyDream (the malware from which the group got its name).
The three malware serve different purposes. The Chinoxy is the original malware, what it works as backdoor to make the initial access. The following follows PCShare (known Chinese open-source remote access trojan), which is developed through Chinoxy and used to exploration of infected devices. Finally, the FunnyDream. It is the most powerful of the three malware. According to researchers, it has many advanced features and capabilities that allow it to collect and steal data.
"Looking at the tool usage schedule we can see that criminals started developing a set of tools designed for quick exploration and extraction data, and later decided to bring a complete toolkit, namely the FunnyDream toolkit, so that there is a possibility long-term monitoring"Liviu Arsene, security researcher at Bitdefender, told ZDNet.
According to the researcher, many infections of government infrastructure have been identified, aimed at espionage and most likely have a political motivation.
"Considering that Southeast Asia faces many economic and trade issues, related to the shift of supply chains from China to Southeast Asia, as well as relations USA-China, these infections may be part of Chinese campaigns targeting Southeast Asian government agencies for possible espionage", Said the researcher and added that some countries in the region had recent elections, which brought changes in governance. These changes interest her China. The government could use a state-sponsored hacking group to see if local regimes align themselves ideologically and politically with China's interests.