Chinese hackers targeted Israel in 2019-20 cyberattacks: Reports
- California-based FireEye confirmed that Chinese hackers had targeted Israel
- Emails, usernames, and passwords were among the data stolen
- The assaults might be related to Israeli infrastructure projects
A cyber threat intelligence company has alleged that China "most likely" staged massive cyberattacks on Israeli government departments and tech companies based in the country between 2019-20, according to media reports.
California-based FireEye, a multi-billion dollar cybersecurity firm, has confirmed that hackers had targeted Israel as part of a broader hacking campaign that also targeted Iran, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, and others, according to Middle East Eye, a London-based online outlet.
The cyber tools used to enter Israel's official organisations, notably the defence ministry, showed that China was behind the attack, according to the firm.
Emails, usernames, and passwords were among the data stolen by the Chinese breach, according to FireEye. Documents and email servers were also combed by the intruders.
The assaults might be related to Israeli infrastructure projects in which China is participating, according to Sanaz Yashar, who headed FireEye's study into Israeli targets.
"There are a lot of Israeli companies that are involved in the very fields at the core of Chinese interests, as reflected in their five-year plans," Yashar told Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper.
"Their goal isn't necessarily always to steal intellectual property; it's possible that they're actually looking for business information."
"In the Chinese view, it's legitimate to attack a company while negotiating with it, so they will know how to price the deal properly."
Furthermore, she added: "When the Chinese do business, they don't enter the contract with their eyes shut. They examine the other offers, the board of directors' emails, correspondence among people, what the intrigues are and who the key people are."
FireEye collaborated with the Israeli Prime Minister's Office and Israeli government cybersecurity specialists to investigate the Chinese attack.
According to the company, this is the first time Chinese hackers have attempted to strike Israel in this fashion.