China state hackers are compromising large numbers of home and office routers for use in a vast and ongoing attack against organizations in France, authorities from that county said.
The hacking group—known in security circles as APT31, Zirconium, Panda, and other names—has historically conducted espionage campaigns targeting government, financial, aerospace and defense organizations as well as businesses in the technology, construction, engineering, telecommunications, media, and insurance industries, security firm FireEye has said. APT31 is also one of three hacker groups sponsored by the Chinese government that participated in a recent hacking spree of Microsoft Exchange servers, the UK’s National Cyber Security Center said on Monday.
Stealth recon and intrusion
On Wednesday, France’s National Agency for Information Systems Security—abbreviated as ANSSI—warned national businesses and organizations that the group was behind a massive attack campaign that was using hacked routers prior to carrying out reconnaissance and attacks as a means to cover up the intrusions.