By Jaime Laude
MANILA, Philippines - Hackers linked with the Vietnamese government are likely targeting Philippine government agencies to gather intelligence related to the maritime dispute in the South China Sea, cybersecurity company FireEye said on Thursday.
That same group, which FireEye called APT32, was also responsible for attacking a Philippine consumer products corporation and a Philippine technology infrastructure firm in 2016, the company said in a media briefing.
Bryce Boland, chief technology officer for Asia Pacific, said the company had observed that APT32 was targeting not just multinational companies and organizations doing business in Vietnam but Philippine government agencies as well.
“This is presumably in order to gain access to information about military preparation and understanding how the organizations within the government operate in order to be better prepared in case of potentially military conflict,” Boland said.
“There are overlapping claims between Vietnam and the Philippines over some islands in the South China Sea and it is quite likely that intelligence gathering is starting around that,” Boland said.
Vietnam has strongly rejected allegations it supports hacking.
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