Chinese Hack Concept Photo: Getty Images

France indicts Chinese hackers for using compromised routers in attacks, Beijing denies charges

*French officials say Chinese hacking group known as APT31 of Judgement Panda is targeting organisations through compromised routers

*The United States ganged up with its allies to make unwarranted accusations against Chinese cybersecurity, says Zhao Lijian, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

French authorities have warned that Chinese hackers are using hacked home and office routers as part of a large and ongoing global attack campaign.

France’s National Agency for Information Systems Security (ANSSI) in an advisory Wednesday, July 21, 2021, said a hacking group known as APT31 (sometimes known as Zirconium or Judgment Panda), is using compromised routers to target French organisations.

Consumer Connect had reported that amid the increasing wave of cyberattacks and attendant socio-economic consequences on individuals, businesses, organisations and governments in recent times, the United States (US) and a coalition of allies recently accused China’s Ministry of State Security of a global cyber hacking campaign.

Cybercriminal

Specifically, they attributed a large Microsoft attack disclosed earlier this year to hackers working on Beijing’s behalf, agency report said.

US Administration officials in a statement July 19, 2021, formally blamed the Chinese government “with high confidence” for the hack that hit businesses and government agencies in the United States using a Microsoft email service.

ANSSI has also warned: “ANSSI is currently handling a large intrusion campaign impacting numerous French entities.

“Attacks are still ongoing and are led by an intrusion set publicly referred to as APT31.

“It appears from our investigations that the threat actor uses a network of compromised home routers as operational relay boxes in order to perform stealth reconnaissance as well as attacks.”

The advisory did not specify which organisations were targeted in the campaign, but ANSSI said around 160 IP addresses can be used to indicate whether an organisation has been a target.

Beijing denies cyberhacking charges

In response to the latest indictment of China and the alleged state-run hacking groups, Chinese authorities have denied the charges.

Zhao Lijian, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman, said: “The United States ganged up with its allies to make unwarranted accusations against Chinese cybersecurity.

“This was made up out of thin air and confused right and wrong. It is purely a smear and suppression with political motives.”

Lijian stated that “China will never accept this.”

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