According to a new report from the cybersecurity researchers at McAfee, a group of hackers in China are using a fake Huawei jobs website to hack into systems operated by telecom network operators.
Their goal? Potentially to obtain information on 5G technology.
"Most probably this threat is targeting people working in the telecommunications industry and has been used for espionage purposes to access sensitive data and to spy on companies related to 5G technology," McAfee's Andrea Rossini wrote on the company's website.
According to a report on ZDNet, at least 23 telecommunications providers may have been targeted as part of a hacking campaign that has been active since at least August 2020. The report noted that it is unclear whether any of the providers were successfully hacked.
McAfee said the group behind the effort is called Operation Diànxùn, but is also known as Mustang Panda and RedDelta, and that it has a history of hacking and espionage campaigns targeting people around the world.
According to McAfee's lengthy description of the hack, the group operates a website made to look like a jobs board for careers at Huawei. It then attempts to get employees at telecom firms to access the site in order to apply for jobs at the Chinese infrastructure vendor. However, doing so allows the hacking group to install malware into their computers and, potentially, gain access to their employers' systems.
To be clear, global cyberthreats are not a new topic, nor is this the first time that telecom network operators have been targeted. Further, private actors, companies and governments all over the world have been implicated for years in what some security researchers have described as a constant state of low-level cyberwarfare. However, McAfee's report is noteworthy in the details it provides on the method of the hack, as well as the hackers' desire to obtain information on 5G technologies.
Governments around the world have argued that 5G, alongside other cutting-edge technologies like quantum computing and artificial intelligence, could well play an outsized role in the economy of tomorrow.
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