Chinese state-sponsored hackers successfully breached 13 US natural gas pipeline operators from 2011 through 2013, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) announced on Tuesday (local time). "The US government identified and tracked 23 US natural gas pipeline operators targeted from 2011 to 2013 in this spearphishing and intrusion campaign," CISA advisory said.
"Thirteen were confirmed compromises, three were near misses, and eight had an unknown depth of intrusion."
The security agency said the US federal government had specifically attributed the attacks to state-sponsored forces backed by the Chinese government.
"The US government has attributed this activity to Chinese state-sponsored actors. CISA and the FBI assess that these actors were specifically targeting US pipeline infrastructure for the purpose of holding US pipeline infrastructure at risk," the advisory said.
US security agencies have assessed that the attacks were ultimately intended to help China develop cyberattack capabilities against US pipelines to physically damage pipelines or disrupt pipeline operations, it added.
This comes a day after the US and its foreign allies accused China of overseeing widespread attempts to extort money in cyberspace. US security agencies have issued a new advisory about a major threat to the cyberspace assets of the United States and its allies from Chinese state-sponsored cyber activities, including ransomware attacks.
In a coordinated announcement, a Joint Cybersecurity Advisory (CSA) issued on Monday states that state-backed cyber actors aggressively target political, economic, military, educational, and critical infrastructure (CI) to steal sensitive data, and emerging key technologies, intellectual property, and personally identifiable information (PII).
An unprecedented group of US allies and partners, including the EU, the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, and NATO, have joined in exposing and criticising China's Ministry of State Security's malicious cyber activities.
Meanwhile, China had denied accusations that actors linked to its government were behind the Microsoft Exchange hack and other "malicious cyber activities."
(With inputs from ANI)
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