The pressure from the USA on China is bringing it along: Chinese hackers are increasingly aiming for targets in Europe. Between November 2017 and December 2018, the Norwegian company Visma was attacked by hackers from China with the goal of obtaining data on intellectual property and trade secrets. Visma is a provider of software and IT services that, according to its own figures, has 900,000 customers, mostly in Northern Europe. Thus, the risk of data loss is high.
Based on data analyses, the U.S. Department of Justice found out that the attack on Norwegians was performed by the Chinese hacker group APT 10. APT stands for Advanced Persistent Threats Groups. In the past, the group has attacked numerous companies from various industries as well as the governments of the USA, Europe and Japan.
Like APT 10, Chinese groups such as APT 1, 3, 12, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 30 are considered among the most dangerous hackers in the world. In December 2018, two members of APT 10 were charged for the theft of IP and confidential business information from government agencies as well as 45 US IT companies and listed as “Wanted” by the FBI.
The risk of losing intellectual property and know-how through Chinese cyber-attacks is also increasing for Western companies. Cyber security insurances against data loss can reduce financial damage, but they are not the ultimate solution to protect intellectual property. Once the know-how is out of the jar, it cannot be retrieved. Based on the current situation in China, we recommend that companies regularly update the internal cyber security systems and processes and periodically train their employees.