Amnesty says cyberattack on Hong Kong office appears linked to known APT group

News by Bradley Barth

Attack bore hallmarks of Chinese state-sponsored hackers

The Hong Kong division of human rights organisation Amnesty International said yesterday that its offices were recently targeted by a sophisticated cyberattack that bore the hallmarks of Chinese state-sponsored actors.

A press release issued by the non-governmental organisation’s Hong Kong chapter said that suspicious activity was detected on 15 March, although it does not state the nature of the attack or specific areas targeted. According to the release, forensic investigators determined that the actor’s attack infrastructure, as well as its tactics, techniques and procedures, is consistent with a "known APT group" whose campaigns are associated with the Chinese government.

"This sophisticated cyberattack underscores the dangers posed by state-sponsored hacking and the need to be ever vigilant to the risk of such attacks. We refuse to be intimidated by this outrageous attempt to harvest information and obstruct our human rights work," said Man-kei Tam, director of Amnesty International, Hong Kong.

The organisation says it responded by setting up a global task force, securing its systems, contacting and providing guidance to individuals whose details may have been exposed, and alerting Hone Kong’s Office of the Privacy Commission for Personal Data.

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