Chinese Hackers Behind Attack On Afghanistan

( Cyberattacks are sadly extremely common these days, and it’s not just the United States that is the victim of it. An Israeli cybersecurity company known as “Check Point” announced last Thursday how a Chinese hacker group is currently conducting an ongoing “cyber espionage operation” against the Afghanistan government.

It comes as the United States withdraws from Afghanistan following two decades of conflict, and the Afghanistan government and forces are left without the full resources and support of the U.S. Army to defend itself against the Taliban.

It sounds like China might be trying to cause some trouble, doesn’t it?

The company claimed that attackers used fake emails, which were designed to look as though they came from Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani’s office, and sent them to the Afghanistan National Security Council in April of this year. In the emails, victims were encouraged to open documents that were attached. Those documents contained malware.

Victims who opened the files said that their computers with infected with malware that gave Chinese hackers access to their system, with extremely sensitive information stolen through folders that were stored on Dropbox, a commercial online cloud storage system.

Nobody noticed what the hackers were doing for quite some time, as Dropbox works with a huge number of servers every day. It means that, for several months, Chinese officials could have gained an insight into what the United States and Afghanistan were preparing ahead of the withdrawal of U.S. Troops.

Check Point claims that the hacker group behind the attack is likely to be “IndigoZebra,” which is a Chinese-speaking hacking group that has been targeting Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Afghanistan governments since 2014.

Speaking to Voice of America News last Thursday, a spokesman from the NSC of Afghanistan said that they were not aware of hackers breaching their computer systems, but evidence was provided by Check Point that it did in fact take place.

What is China’s end-game here?