China state-sponsored hackers allegedly stole data from major US law firms

Cyber Espionage, Data Theft, What the Hack

A series of security breaches that hit prestigious US law firms last year was reportedly carried out by the China state sponsored hackers.

Report says, a series of attack targeting US law firm resulted in critical data thefts. The incidents saw hackers getting into the email accounts of senior employees at several US law firms and sending confidential information to remote servers, according to a report.

In one of the case, an attack continued for more than 3 months resulting data theft of over 7GB. The hackers did not stop, created backdoors and allegedly repeatedly returned to the compromised firms’ networks to get for new information.

The News of data breaches at US law firms was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. The WSJ reported that the hackers had targeted networks of law firms such as Cravath Swaine & Moore and Weil Gotshal & Manges.

However, the Fortune report on the incidents suggest that it was not only law firms who has attacked by state-sponsored attacker. It includes networks of a major airline company whose hacking method indicated a link toward Chinese state-sponsored hackers.

Additionally, high-profile law firms including Cleary Gottlieb; Mayer Brown; Latham & Watkins; Covington & Burling; Davis Polk & Wardell appear to have been targeted by the hackers.

Any specific goals of the hackers?

The Wall Street Journal’s report outlined that the goal of the hackers was to obtain confidential information to facilitate insider trading. Reports obtained by Fortune speculate that since information relating mergers and acquisitions were targeted, the attacks might have had an economic motive.

This was not the only case if we talk about China-based hackers fulfilling their malicious intends. Earlier in the year, Australian authorities suspected Chinese state-sponsored hackers aimed to steal defense secrets by targeting government organizations.