Technology companies providing IT infrastructure management services to the US government and large American firms could be looking nervous following reports that Chinese hackers have long been trying to break into their networks in a bid to steal data related to their customers.
It is not clear whether the cyber espionage yielded any results, but the news has the potential to wreak havoc in the global managed service providers’ (MSP) industry.
In a statement issued in October, the Department of Homeland Security had claimed that it was aware of the hacking campaign, but it had not specifically pointed its accusing fingers at China.
Now a report in The Wall Street Journal says the federal prosecutors are preparing to bring charges against the suspects. Researchers cited by the Journal have blamed the hacks on a group of cyber criminals known as “APT 10” or “cloudhopper” tied to the Chinese government.
The Home Land Security, however, did mention the term – APT (advanced persistent threat).
“Since May 2016, APT actors have used various tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) for the purposes of cyber espionage,” said its statement.
It is not clear how many companies were targeted, but most of the victims were those providing technology infrastructure management and cloud storage.
“By servicing a large number of customers, MSPs can achieve significant economies of scale. However, a compromise in one part of an MSP’s network can spread globally, affecting other customers and introducing risk,” warns the agency.
MSPs gained prominence as large companies sought to cut down IT spending to focus on their core business area. Hackers know that they can access the database of large companies if they break into MSP’s networks.