back to article China turns cyber-espionage eyes to Russia as Ukraine invasion grinds on

China appears to be entering a raging cyber-espionage battle that's grown in line with Russia's unprovoked attack on Ukraine, deploying advanced malware on the computer systems of Russian officials. Bronze President, a China-linked threat group that typically targeted government entities and non-governmental organizations ( …

  1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Hacked Hackers?

    The methods documented as used by the China hackers are pretty much standard hacking methods, maybe they hacked the hackers to learn them, or maybe they were hacked by the Russians and figured it out? This is not a joke, it's just a yawn - this sort of thing is going on everywhere these days ... I'm not worried, I'm just bored. I have our mail servers set to stop all this by limiting every risky attachment and email format.

    1. Clausewitz4.0

      Re: Hacked Hackers?

      Or maybe it is not China, but someone masking their exe as Chinese

      1. Kabukiwookie

        Re: Hacked Hackers?

        You mean like what the NSA is doing with their hacking tools as Edward Snowden has revealed?

        Now why, would the US try to sow dissent between China and Russia...

        Oh wait...

      2. iron Silver badge

        Re: Hacked Hackers?

        I've been saying for decades that if I were writing malware my build server would be set to a foreign language and comments in the code would be in that language as well. I'd probably also find out which programming languages are popular in that region and learn a new one to write the malware if necessary.

        1. Schultz

          ... if I were writing malware ...

          if you were writing malware for any state sponsored group (maybe some deep-pocketed US entities excepted), you'd be told that your code better be ready yesterday because there is a new threat that should be investigated today, at the latest. And what did you do last week to earn your pay?

          I understand your reasoning, but I would assume that most state sponsored hackers are ordinary family men who code to make a living and a salary. Not everyone is out to invent the perfect crime. And if you convince your boss that obfuscation is warranted, he might give you a week to delete all comments in your source and rename a few variables.

          1. Kabukiwookie

            Re: ... if I were writing malware ...

            Sure, becasue spook agencies always do all their work in the clear and make announcements beforehand...

            Dude, misdirection and obfuscation *are* their bread and butter...

        2. Potemkine! Silver badge

          Re: Hacked Hackers?

          Unless you're totally fluent in that foreign language, you will let traces of your original culture. For instance, some syntax errors are a good way to spot Russians from the Troll Factory in web forums.

      3. adam 40 Silver badge

        Re: Hacked Hackers?

        "Or maybe it is not China, but someone masking their exe as Chinese"

        I though China only compiled to ".com" files......

    2. usbac

      Re: Hacked Hackers?

      I was just going to ask: Who in their right mind would allow .exe attachments through their mail system?

      This is not the early 90's anymore for god sake!!

      Also, hiding the file extension on email attachments has to be one of the stupidest things Microsoft has ever done. And, that is a very big list to be at the top of!!

  2. Eclectic Man Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Spying on your 'friends'

    In one of Sir Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork patiently explains that he knows his enemies are trying to subvert the city, so he needs to spy on his friends to make sure they don't make any unexpected decisions that could be 'inconvenient'. (As I recall, I have undoubtedly not expressed it as eloquently as Sir Terry.)

    I'm sure the Chinese leadership are as keen as anyone to know what is going on in the Moscow Kremlin at the moment.

  3. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Stealing thunder

    China was supposed to be the new scary super power but Russia suddenly begins exterminating a country and threatening nuclear war. China really wants to know where they stand in this new game.

    North Korea is demanding attention too but nobody is still listening.

    1. Kabukiwookie

      Re: Stealing thunder

      That's because the mental midgets of the Empire du jour have been in the spotlights for so long and they don't want to get of the stage, even though most of tge audience is tired of their performance.

    2. veti Silver badge

      Re: Stealing thunder

      That's simple: China is in the process of installing itself as Russia's "protector", in the 17th century sense of the word.

      (I guess the modern analogue would be something like "owner".)

      They're adding spyware to Russian systems in the same way, and for much the same reasons, as some employers add it to the systems of WFH employees.

      1. Kabukiwookie

        Re: Stealing thunder

        You must be a USian...

        Jung explains this sort of reasoning as 'projection'.

    3. Eclectic Man Silver badge

      Re: Stealing thunder

      For a scary explanation of what Putin might actually be doing with his invasion of Ukraine, try:

      "Since Putin launched a war of aggression against Ukraine, without even bothering to justify it with anything other than a few stale lines of crude propaganda, I was perplexed by the strategic insanity of this decision. Let’s set aside the quaint idea that Putin would be governed by any kind of basic morals or international norms, but what was there to be gained from it?"

      1. Danny 14

        Re: Stealing thunder

        the truth is probably far more simple. He thought he could win quickly. He wants to make Russia great again. Hes been told that his army is fantastic with wonderful new tanks that are much better. The airforce is excellent, navy is fantastic, troops are in excellent condition. In short Russia is poised to be a superpower comrade. Eat Ukraine and unite the motherland. Europe will cower behind the might of our gas wielding state.

        The truth is that Ukrainian farmers with tractors have more backbone and that the war ia going really really badly.

        Noone has dared tell Putin this yet.

      2. rcxb1

        Re: Stealing thunder

        I don't see anything particularly scary about it.

        Where this "Grumpy Old Man Putin" theory falls down is that he's in a position to install his own successor. That's how he got the job, after all. Putin can easily secure his legacy by finding just one young person who has a similar world view, and installing him securely in the top job, before his own time runs out. Starting the war in Ukraine does not help him in this regard at all, even if all had gone perfectly.

  4. Potemkine! Silver badge

    China doesn't give a damn about Russia. If they have to choose between having commercial relations with Russia and commercial relations with the Western World, it will choose the more profitable one. For now, China tries officially to stay in between, to take advantages from both sides - and it's clever, even if it's amoral. But morality is a bourgeois feeling, isn't it?

    China would love to get a grip on Siberia's resources. If it can destabilize Russia enough to make a part of Siberia secedes, it will do it for sure.

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