The Chinese Hackers Attacking Our Networks
We have recently learned that hacking has taken place on the networks of two Afghanistan regional councils, the National Council of Afghanistan and the Council of Afghanistan. These networks were attacked several days ago through a variety of means by a group that has been dubbed the ‘Chinese Hackers. ’ We have been tipped off to this criminal group by the media. They have been very successful in stealing and deleting the password files on both nodes. The passwords were stored on encrypted USB drives that were stolen from the user’s computer. Many of their victims have been able to access the network computers and other machines through social engineering (by pretending to be Afghan citizens trying to access the council’s systems in order to steal password files). The following video is the first report on the Chinese Hackers attacking our systems. Our own investigation has found nothing abnormal about this group, and they have very little to gain from the data they had access to. As they are now in the United States, we are advising any Americans that may have been victimized by this group to contact their national authorities. This is our first report on the Chinese Hackers. We will update.
On July 4th, 2018, Afghan Councils Network (ACN) was attacked by a group called the Chinese Hackers. This group was known to be using “The Pwn (Pseudo-Actions)” to penetrate the networks of several organizations in Afghanistan and Pakistan in order to steal data of their citizens. By accessing the network of ACN, the group stole the user password, and as a side effect, also the encrypted data with which they were able to attack the user’s data.
ACN’s network computers (the user’s computers) had been compromised through a variety of methods. This group was trying to access the network by exploiting an encryption technique known as the “Pwn. ” The Pwn means that if you have a single password, you may be able to steal passwords from any computer on the network. The Pwn technique can be very effective against networks with weak password security. By stealing an encrypted password, the Pwn method can be used to access the entire network. Many attacks against ACN’s network were successful because they bypassed the encryption using the passphrase in the encrypted password.
China’s Indigo Zebra Attack on the National Security Council
Hackers at the Afghan National Security Council hacked an online system used to manage military intelligence within the Afghan government, according to one of the officials briefed on the case. They were able to bypass security systems, including the network of the Afghan National Security Council, and take control of the system to conduct personal communications and coordinate a military operation. The attack compromised the Afghan National Security Council’s website, which was accessed by only a select number of staff members, and was launched on July 4, one official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the information wasn’t public. The attack was part of a concerted effort by a group of Chinese hackers to steal data from the Afghan government and foreign interests, the official said.
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China is a multi-billion dollar power with a vast influence on the world stage. It influences geopolitical stability in the region. It’s a close ally in the war on terrorism that is being waged across the globe. China’s recent expansion in the Middle East and South East Asia has added another layer to the regional strategic landscape.
China’s increasing economic and military role in the region has made the country the dominant actor, as its increasing economic, strategic, and military power puts pressure on the regional order. This pressure has made several regional conflicts of the last couple decades and numerous regional wars unavoidable. For example, it is inevitable that some regional disputes will arise from China-led economic and military pressure groups imposing their will on the region’s political actors.
The emergence of regional conflicts has given rise to several new forms of instability, which have created fertile ground for Chinese hacking to cause harm to regional stability.
Investigating the Cyberattack in Afghanistan
China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency (XINHANWENG) posted an article on Nov. 15 about an alleged hacking attack at the China-Afghanistan Council computer networks.
XINHANWENG said the alleged attack took place in eastern Afghanistan on Nov. It claimed that a hacker had accessed the network through an internal computer-securing network link and made thousands of files available to the public.
“The hacking operation on the council computer network took place only after the cyber-attack on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Agriculture and led to a serious breach of the council computer network to a large extent,” the article said.
The council, an agency of the Chinese government that provides internet access to more than 20 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, was hacked three weeks ago. The attack was blamed on the Communist Party-affiliated People’s Daily.
XINHANWENG said the hackers posted a document entitled “A Message to the Chinese People” that said the Chinese government was responsible for the attacks and that Beijing was sending a “red flag to the world” in response.
XINHANWENG added that the document was also posted by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), which claimed that it had also attacked the council.
“We will continue to send the red flag to the world. Chinese hackers have launched their attacks into the council computer network. The local people in Pakistan, Afghanistan and other countries have been taken by surprise by this cyber-attack,” it said.
XINHANWENG said the hackers were allegedly linked to the People’s Liberation Army, the People’s Liberation Army General Office (PLA), and the Central Military Commission (CMC).
“We will not allow another such attack from the People’s Liberation Army and the PLA. We will take countermeasures against them and will take full responsibility,” the article said.