China accuses US of hacking leading space and aviation university

What happened now? China is regularly accused of using state-sponsored hackers to infiltrate American systems, government agencies and organizations, but the Asian nation claims the US is far from innocent when it comes to engaging in this sort of activity. The latest accusation is that the NSA hacked into a state-funded university that specializes in aviation, aerospace and navigational research.

According to a statement from China’s National Virus Response Center (CNCERT/CC), the NSA’s Specialized Access Operations Authority (TAO) sent phishing emails to faculty and students at Northwestern Polytechnic University in an attempt to steal data and personal information.

As with other phishing campaigns, the goal was to trick the victim into clicking on malicious links that would allow TAO to steal email login details. Reporting topics included scientific assessment, dissertation defense, and travel information.

According to Global Times, a publication owned by the Chinese Communist Party, a team from CNCERT/CC and 360 Security Technology Inc. analyzed Trojan samples from university information systems after the attack was reported in June. They traced the hacks to TAO.

China says the NSA has been behind more than 10,000 “vicious” cyberattacks on targets in the country in recent years, collecting more than 140GB of valuable data in the process.

The US has a long history of being accused of hacking China. In June, CISA, the NSA and the FBI issued a warning that state-backed Chinese hackers were using unpatched consumer routers and network-attached storage (NAS) devices to gain access to the infrastructure of large telecommunications companies by sending their traffic to Chinese servers.

In February, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray said China was behind more cyberattacks on the US than all other countries combined. He added that at the time, the FBI was investigating 2,000 cases of Chinese attacks. He cited the Microsoft Exchange hack, which affected the networks of 10,000 US companies, as an example of the damage that Chinese hackers can do to American industry.

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