Chinese hackers have now started to target universities in the US. Up till now, the Chinese hackers have targeted 27 universities in order to gain access to maritime military research. All this information mentioned in a cybersecurity firm iDefense report, which was obtained by the Wall Street Journal.
The hackers sent them an Email doctored to appear as if they come from the partner universities, upon opening they unleash a payload of the malicious virus. They target the universities because the educational sector is seen as an easier target than US military contractors, and they can still contain useful military research.
As mentioned above 27 universities found that were aimed to attack including some on the universities in the United States, Canada, and Southeast Asia has been targeted by the attackers including the University of Hawaii, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of Washington. However, iDefense did not mention every college or institute in the report because of the ongoing investigations. Some of the random sources have told that that Penn State and Duke University were two of the other targets.
Mainly the cyber attacks focused on those universities which have studied underwater technology or had any background relevant to the study. Many institutes had ties with the US largest oceanographic research institute which itself has ties to the US Navy’s warfare center. The group of hacker has been given many nicknames by the security researchers like Temp, Periscope, Mudcarp, or Leviathan.
For the time being the investigation team is unable to describe its connection with the Chinese government, but as the group is targetting only US military data, Some analysts believe the Chinese government is a likely sponsor. There was the same case reported last June about the hack of US Navy contractor.