Nations develop either by building themselves with own resources or by grabbing someone else’s. If later path is chosen, Cyberespionage is the new form to gain an advantage. Practising such acts now is Vietnam, with recently hacking famous automakers’ websites.
The State-Backed Hackers
APT32, a Cyber attacking group touted to be backed by the Vietnamese Government, has been actively attacking other nations as its Cyberespionage operations. The group is found to be following the Chinese path as stealing intellectual properties of others. Cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike finds an increase of such attacks on others, especially Southeast Asia in the last two years.
In recent times, this hacking group is actively targeting key automakers in various nations. Starting in 2012, the group’s espionage attacks are on the rise and now fallen into automobile makers. In March, Toyota reported that it was targeted by hackers in Vietnam and Thailand regions through their subsidiaries in Japan. These attacks were done by APT32 as confirmed by a Toyota official.
The group is found creating fake domains for Hyundai and Toyota automakers to infiltrate their networks. This can help in their phishing attacks for gaining data fed into such malicious websites and to gain access to the company’s networks. The American firms that are relevant to Vietnam are being targeted too.
While everyone’s is clearly viewing the attacks done on each other, countries remain silent on answering to public. While the Vietnamese foreign ministry and embassy haven’t responded, the US government had declined to comment. Further, a government spokesperson has responded to attacks on foreign automakers as “unfounded“.
Just For Competitive Advantage
Wondering why a nation does such things? All these attacks could gain logical secrets and new ideas of developed nations of profitable companies, which can be used by local makers and develop the nation. The small country has once stood against the giant US, and now it’s specializing in hacking other nations for their secrets.
Though it’s found not that impactful as China, the group has been gradually developing in its activities. It’s actively sourcing tools from global malware market and developing their own aside. These could, one day, potentially target big firms that are crucial for any country.