Cyberattacks in Hong Kong are expected to rise, according to security experts who have identified at least seven state-linked hacker groups in mainland China that have been targeting organisations in the city since 2014.
Bryce Boland, the chief technology officer for Asia-Pacific at cybersecurity company FireEye, said on Thursday that cyberattacks by the hacker groups were likely to increase as political strife in Hong Kong continued.
“Political unrest in Hong Kong doesn’t sit well with the [Chinese Communist] party,” Boland said.
“Hong Kong is a perfect target for advanced attackers. It’s a global business hub with simmering political tensions. It’s also in close proximity with … actors with an interest in Hong Kong’s political and economic development,” he added.
FireEye’s intelligence assessment found the seven Chinese hacker groups to be state-linked based on a range of factors, including the targeted victims, information sourced, resources used and forensic evidence from cyberattacks.
“During Occupy Central, we saw a big uptick in hacking incidents,” Boland said. “We see a consistent level of attacks against [some Hong Kong organisations] coming from [mainland] China, and we expect that this will continue.”
Reports of hacking rose 43 per cent last year compared with 2014, according to data released in January by the Hong Kong Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Centre. Almost 5,000 hacking incidents were reported, with a four-fold increase in website attacks.