Chinese Hackers Target Universities in Pursuit of Maritime Military Secrets University of Hawaii, University of Washington and MIT are among schools hit by cyberattacks, Wall Street Journal reports.
Chinese hackers have targeted more than two dozen universities in the United States and around the globe as part of an elaborate scheme to steal research about maritime technology being developed for military use, according to cybersecurity experts and current and former U.S. officials.
The University of Hawaii, the University of Washington and Massachusetts Institute of Technology are among at least 27 universities in the U.S., Canada and Southeast Asia that Beijing has targeted, according to iDefense, a cybersecurity intelligence unit of Accenture Security.
The research, to be published this week, is the latest indication that Chinese cyberattacks to steal U.S. military and economic secrets are on the rise. The findings, reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, name a substantial list of university targets for the first time, reflecting the breadth and nature of the ongoing cyber campaign that iDefense said dates to at least April 2017.
Chinese officials didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but have denied that they engage in cyberattacks.
iDefense said it identified targeted universities by observing that their networks were pinging servers located in China and controlled by a Chinese hacking group known to researchers interchangeably as Temp.Periscope, Leviathan or Mudcarp. Researchers at the U.S. cyber firm FireEye , who have studied the same group, said the iDefense findings were generally consistent with their own intelligence.
The majority of the universities targeted either house research hubs focused on undersea technology or have faculty on staff with extensive experience in a relevant field, and nearly all have links to a Massachusetts oceanographic institute that also was likely compromised in the cyber campaign, iDefense said.
Some have been awarded contracts by the Navy. Others, including Sahmyook University in South Korea, appeared to be targeted due to their proximity to China, and relevance to the South China Sea, the analysts said.
Credit: Wall Street Journal