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Decade-long Chinese assault on Windows, Android and Linux uncovered

(Image credit: Image Credit: Balefire / Shutterstock)

Five separate hacking groups have been working together for a decade, engaging in espionage operations and stealing intellectual property from targets in the West.

This is according to a new report from BlackBerry, which claims these groups are on the Chinese government's payroll and, even though they appears to be separate entities, demonstrate a high level of coordination.

The report claims the Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) groups have systematically targeted Linux servers, Windows systems and mobile devices running Android, in a campaign that prompted more than 1,000 FBI investigations in 56 field offices.

“Linux is not typically user-facing, and most security companies focus their engineering and marketing attention on products designed for the front office instead of the server rack, so coverage for Linux is sparse,” said Eric Cornelius, Chief Product Architect at BlackBerry.

“These APT groups have zeroed in on that gap in security and leveraged it for their strategic advantage to steal intellectual property from targeted sectors for years without anyone noticing.”

The report states that the cross-platform aspect of the attack is especially worrying as people are forced to work remotely due to the coronavirus outbreak. The tools   researchers uncovered are designed to take advantage of stay-at-home workers, and the fact that the number of available cybersecurity personnel is reduced only makes matters worse.