Jeremy Hunt says British spies recently collected secret information against the Beijing-based hacker group APT10, funded by the Chinese government. The think tank says China could be behind the hacks of several corporate giants, a clear violation of international G20 agreements. GCHQ reported “worrying” cyberattacks against British companies, which are believed to come mainly from China and Russia. The agreement also reflects an agreement reached last month between China and the United States, but which, according to the U.S. watchdog CrowdStrike, was violated almost immediately. Although China has been publicly criticized for alleged hacker attacks – by governments, law enforcement and private security companies – China has consistently denied allegations made against China. At the time of the letter, the Chinese Embassy in Britain had not responded to a request for comment on the story. However, after the article was published, a spokesperson for the message said: “The Chinese government is a strong advocate of cybersecurity. We categorically reject all forms of cybercrime and cybercrime, and we fight them. They added that those investigating cyberattacks should provide evidence and “stop speculating for no reason.” During the pandemic, Read saw Chinese-backed hackers focus their efforts on information related to Covid. “We`ve seen some target groups of health organizations,” Read says. “The most active group we`ve seen is APT41,” he adds.
“They continue to do things that are financially motivated and what looks like traditional targeting of espionage.” Read confirms that in the past six months, the company has uncovered computer hacks against Chinese-backed EU governments and institutions. In June, the European Commission called on China to attack hospitals. China denied this, saying that cyberattacks linked to the pandemic should be “clearly condemned by all.” Many of these claims appear to have been exposed to the 2015 agreements between the United Kingdom, the United States and China. A joint statement between the UK and China states that the two countries have agreed not to proceed or support “the theft of intellectual property, trade secrets or confidential cyber information.” The agreement added that there should be “mutual respect and mutual understanding” between countries. Although the joint declaration is far from a cyber-peace agreement, it is about to conclude a near-identical agreement between China and the United States, presented as such. On the contrary, the nations issued a joint statement – which British government spokesmen did not want to describe as legally binding – in which there was talk of an agreement between the two nations to “not conduct or support the theft of cyberprocess intellectual property”.