Second Chinese Military Unit Linked to International Cyberattacks

Security researchers have identified a second Chinese military unit that has launched cyberattacks against companies and government agencies in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. In May, the Justice Department indicted five individuals involved in a separate military unit, and now, security company CrowdStrike has revealed the identity of a second group of military hackers, Unit 61486, otherwise known as "Putter Panda."

The Shanghai-based Unit 61486 has even shared resources with the recently indicted members of Unit 61398, a Shanghai-based group identified last year by U.S. cybersecurity firm Mandiant. Both groups are divisions of the People's Liberation Army, which is in charge of all Chinese military operations. The U.S. has claimed for many years that China actively targets American businesses and government agencies, and these reports seem to back up those accusations.

Two Units

Between CrowdStrike's report, which was published on Monday, and the Justice Department's indictments from May, it is now public knowledge that there are multiple Chinese teams attacking businesses. Though only two groups may have been publicly identified, it is likely that others exist inside China.

CrowdStrike said that it has evidence that Unit 61486 has targeted businesses in Europe, the U.S., and Japan since at least 2007. Those attacks have been carried out through various means, including by sending infected email attachments.

EUPutter Panda is a determined adversary group, conducting intelligence-gathering operations targeting the government, defense, research, and technology sectors in the United States, with specific targeting of the U.S. Defense and European satellite and aerospace industries," said the researchers. "The 12th Bureau Unit 61486, headquartered in Shanghai, supports ChinaEUs space surveillance network.EU

Extra Problems

The relationship between China and the United States is already strained, yet China is an important contact in Asia. Now that there is another Chinese military unit in the public eye, China will have even more reason to...

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