Suspected Chinese hackers masqueraded as Indian government to send COVID-19 phishing emails

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Oct 5, 2021 | CYBERSCOOP

An increasingly active Chinese government-linked hacking group impersonated Indian government agencies with phishing lures related to COVID-19 statistics and tax legislation, researchers say.

It was the continuation of a campaign that dates to the earliest days of the pandemic, Blackberry said in a blog post Tuesday. The company tied together several threads of operations by APT41, a joint cyber-espionage and cybercrime organization that investigators have repeatedly tied to Beijing and that Blackberry said was responsible for the India-themed phishing lures.

The permutation targeting India preyed on the same fears that hacking groups began seizing on in after the coronavirus outbreak. BlackBerry on Monday didn’t answer questions about the timeframe in which APT41 sent the India-themed lures, what its possible motives were and what industries the emails targeted.

“The image we uncovered was that of a state-sponsored campaign that plays on people’s hopes for a swift end to the pandemic as a lure to entrap its victims,” according to Blackberry. “And once on a user’s machine, the threat blends into the digital woodwork by using its own customized profile to hide its network traffic.”

First fully identified in 2019 after being

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