Last year, the Dutch Ministry of Defense found Chinese spyware (malware) on a computer system belonging to the armed forces. According to the Military Intelligence and Security Service (MIVD), this was “advanced” malware installed by a Chinese government organisation.
The malware was found “on a separate computer network within the armed forces. This network was used for unclassified research and development (R&D). Because this system was independent, it did not cause damage to the defense network.” The network had fewer than fifty users.
The intelligence service also published a technical report on the actions of Chinese state hackers. This is happening for the first time. The characteristics of the spyware are published on the website of the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC).
This relates to malware used in Fortinet's FortiGate systems. This system allows computer users to work remotely safely and securely. According to MIVD, the Chinese used a “known vulnerability in FortiGate devices.”
Knowledge from the Dutch space sector
The Dutch intelligence service has been warning for years about espionage carried out by China. “It is important to attribute such espionage activities to China. “In this way, we increase international resilience against this type of cyber espionage,” says Dutch Defense Minister Kaisa Ollongren.
In its annual report last year, the MIVD said that China was trying to acquire knowledge and goods from the Dutch space sector. This could have been attempted through coverage companies. Furthermore, the country is said to be interested in high technology and maritime industry.
In 2022, the Military Intelligence Service said it had “detected and prevented several Chinese attempts to acquire Dutch (military) technology.” Last year, the MIVD and AIVD were given broader powers by the House of Representatives in order to prevent espionage.
Read also. For example, Prime Minister De Croo tried to avoid spying in China: “Charge your disposable phone? USB ports can read it easily.”(+)
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