Amnesty International’s Hong Kong office has been hit by a years-long cyberattack from hackers with known links to the Chinese government, the rights group said yesterday.
The attack comes at a time of growing concern in Hong Kong over shrinking freedoms as Beijing flexes its muscles and western nations fret about the global dominance of China in telecommunications networks.
Amnesty said it first detected its systems had been compromised on March 15 when its Hong Kong office migrated its IT infrastructure to the rights group’s more secure international network as part of a scheduled upgrade.
The group brought in a team of experts to investigate.
“Cyber forensic experts were able to establish links between the infrastructure used in this attack and previously reported APT campaigns associated with the Chinese government,” the group said in a statement.
Advanced persistent threats (APTs) are the most complex and effective hacks that deploy significant know how and resources -- and they are usually carried out by, or on behalf of, a state.
China has long been accused by western governments, businesses and cyber analysts of using APT groups to carry out corporate and political espionage as well as pursue critics and opponents overseas, allegations it denies.