It’s like a John le Carre novel, but today spies are hiding behind computer screens. They are called Li Xiaoyu and Dong Jiazhi. The FBI is looking for them for spying on companies and laboratories around the world.
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Samuel Cogolati, federal deputy Ecolo obtained the indictment from the US Department of Justice. He found there as the 19th victim of these hackers, a Belgian company. “His name is classified, he tells us. On the other hand, we learn that it is about a high-tech company which had 142 GB of documents stolen from its economic activities. The company is linked to highly specialized fluid dynamics research.“
A Trojan horse to break into the servers
Recently alerted by the American authorities, the Brussels public prosecutor’s office opened an investigation into the facts dating back to 2018. But for the moment, nothing is filtering on the identity of Belgian society. For Olivier Bogaert, these hackers have plundered company secrets for 10 years using a technique called the Trojan horse.
“They will make contact with executives of the company that interests them by sending them a message that will automatically grab their attention., details the commissioner of the Computer Crime Unit of the federal police. The latter, supposedly for security, is encrypted. They send the code to decrypt it, but as soon as the person opens the file, they install malware that will allow access to the company’s server.“
Laboratories working on a vaccine against Covid-19 targeted
During the past few months, the Covid-19 crisis has focused the attention of these spies on laboratories working on a vaccine against the coronavirus, as confirmed by statements by John Demers, Assistant Attorney General of National Security of the United States : “The campaign targeted intellectual property and confidential business information held by the private sector, including treatments, tests and vaccines related to Covid-19“.
“The indictment, he continues, shows very clearly that no country is immune. Any country with a successful business or industry needs to be on guard and ready to protect itself.“
New form of cold war between the United States and China
This affair is not the only one to poison Sino-American relations. Two weeks ago, smoke billowing from the Chinese Consulate in Houston, Florida caught the neighborhood’s attention. An amateur video showed the employees burning documents in the courtyard as others exited by the diplomatic bag.
The Chinese consulate had to close its doors within 72 hours. In retaliation, China on Monday occupied the US consulate in Chengdu. A real scent of cold war reigns, currently, between the United States and China with, as collateral victims, universities or medical start-ups, European or Belgian, badly equipped to protect themselves against professional hacking like this one. .