The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, National Security Agency, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation released a joint advisory this week stating that China-backed hackers Volt Typhoon have maintained persistent access to some critical USA infrastructure for “at least five years.”

The advisory states that cybersecurity hackers backed by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) are positioning themselves on the IT networks of American infrastructure systems so they can launch “disruptive or destructive” cyberattacks if the USA faces any major crisis or conflict.

In the advisory, it is stated that Volt Typhoon are state-sponsored and backed by the Chinese government. They are known to exploit vulnerabilities in critical infrastructure such as routers, firewalls, and VPNs, targeting key industries such as water, communications, transport, and energy. The exploitations have been found across the continental and non-continental United States, including Guam.

According to the advisory, Volt Typhoon’s activities differ significantly from traditional cyber espionage or intelligence-gathering activity. The agencies behind the advisory believe they are positioning themselves ready for a lateral move into disruptive activities.

Volt Typhoon’s methods have relied heavily on stolen administrator passwords and insufficiently secure front-end security. It has enabled them to take control of some camera surveillance systems to gain a further upper hand. They have been known to use “living off the land” attacks to hide their activities.

What are “living off the land” attacks?

“Living off the land” (LOTL) attacks help cyber attackers go unnoticed. Whereas many attacks use files and leave traces behind, LOTL attacks use legitimate tools on the target system to conduct malicious activities. This makes it very hard to detect using traditional security measures which look for scripts and files as the signature of attacks.

Cybersecurity is constantly evolving and it’s vital to keep systems updated with the latest security measures. Research into the benefits of artificial intelligence (AI) in cybersecurity is ongoing but AI will likely have more success against techniques such as LOTL due to their enhanced analytical powers.

Featured image credit: Pixabay via Pexels

Ali Rees

Freelance journalist

Ali Rees is a freelance writer based in the UK. They have worked as a data and analytics consultant, a software tester, and a digital marketing and SEO specialist.

They have been a keen gamer and tech enthusiast since their childhood in are currently the Gaming and Tech editor at Brig Newspaper. They also have a Substack where they review short video games.
During the pandemic, Ali turned their hand to live streaming and is a fan of Twitch. When not writing, Ali enjoys playing video and board games, live music, and reading. They have two cats and both of them are idiots.


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Harmony Evans is an award-winning author of Harlequin Kimani Romance, African-American romance, and so on. Harmony Evans is an award-winning author for Harlequin Kimani Romance, the leading publisher of African-American romance. Her 2nd novel, STEALING KISSES, will be released in November 2013. Harmony is a single mom to a beautiful, too-smart-for-her-own-good daughter, who makes her grateful for life daily. Her hobbies include cooking, baking, knitting, reading, and of course, napping and also review some of the best-selling and popular brands and services in the market and also write comprehensive blogs.

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