A collective of hackers associated with the Chinese government have suddenly began breaching computers of experts on Iraq as the rebellion there escalated.
Security experts CrowdStrike said that the group is one of the most sophisticated of the 30 it tracks in China and the hackers are affiliated with the government. For three years, CrowdStrike said it has seen the group it calls “Deep Panda” target defence, financial and other industries in the United States. So far it has gone after think tanks who specialise in Southeast Asian affairs.
However on June 18, the same day that rebel group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIS, attacked an oil refinery, the group suddenly began going after the digital documents of US think tank employees who were experts in that region. Iraq is the fifth-largest source of crude for China, while China is the largest foreign investor in Iraq’s oil infrastructure. The Chinese would be logically concerned about the insurrection and any US responses.
CrowdStrike thinks that this sudden change in tactics means that the group has a good control from high levels of Chinese government.