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A member of the hacking group Red Hacker Alliance monitoring global cyberattacks on his computer at their office in Dongguan, China's southern Guangdong province. Photo: Nicolas Sfouri/AFP via Getty Images

The Chinese Communist Party is believed to be responsible for newly found hack attacks on the U.S. government, businesses and American infrastructure, cybersecurity company Mandiant said Wednesday.

Why it matters: This is the third major cybersecurity breach to hit the U.S. in recent months — including two in March blamed on hackers linked to China's government: one targeting 30,000 U.S. victims, including small businesses and local governments, the other hitting Microsoft.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.
  • Charles Carmakal, a senior vice president of Mandiant, told NBC News Wednesday, "We're starting to see a resurgence of espionage activity from the Chinese government."

Driving the news: The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said in a statement Tuesday that the breach was "affecting U.S. government agencies, critical infrastructure entities, and other private sector organizations."

Zoom in: Carmakal said in an emailed statement that Mandiant "recently responded to multiple security incidents involving the exploitation of Pulse Secure VPN appliances," which is used by businesses for remote work.

  • The breach affected "dozens of organizations including government agencies, financial entities, and defense companies" in the U.S. and Europe, he said.
  • "We suspect these intrusions align with data and intelligence collection objectives by China," Carmakal added.
  • Per Carmakal, the hackers bypassed the multifactor authentication on Pulse Secure devices to access the as-yet unnamed victims' networks, accessing these sites "for several months without being detected."
"We believe that multiple cyber espionage groups are using these exploits and tools, and there are some similarities between portions of this activity and a Chinese actor we call APT5. "
— Carmakal

Of note: President Biden took office a month after cybersecurity firm SolarWinds announced it was hacked in December, in a breach that was later discovered to be part of a massive cyberattack by suspected Russian hackers on multiple government agencies and U.S. firms.

Go deeper

Jul 30, 2021 - World

Blinken: Russia will "force" State to fire 182 local embassy, consulate workers

A national flag flown outside the U.S. Embassy on Novinsky Boulevard in central Moscow. Photo: Valery Sharifulin/TASS via Getty Images

The United States has been forced to lay off more than 180 local employees and contractors at its embassy in Moscow and two consulates, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Friday.

Driving the news: "Starting in August, the Russian government is prohibiting the United States from retaining, hiring, or contracting Russian or third-country staff, except our guard force," Blinken said in a statement.

Updated 41 mins ago - World

Biden cleans up comments about Russia invading Ukraine

Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

President Biden sought to clarify his suggestion that a "minor incursion" by Russia into Ukraine may not draw the same response as a large invasion, telling reporters Thursday that "Russia will pay a heavy price" if any troops cross the border.

Why it matters: Some officials in Kyiv saw Biden's comments as inviting Russian aggression.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
54 mins ago - Health

Study finds bias against Black patients written into medical charts

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Black patients were more than two-and-a-half times as likely as white patients to have negative descriptors about them in their electronic health record, according to a study published Wednesday in Health Affairs.

Why it matters: The study is further evidence of bias in the U.S. health care system, which can ultimately result in worse care and disparately poor outcomes.

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