Second Chinese military unit linked to cyber espionage

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CrowdStrike, a U.S security firm, detailed the allegations in a lengthy report on a People’s Liberation Army unit operating in Shanghai.

 The report comes just weeks after the U.S. Department of Justice accused five members of the Chinese military of hacking into American companies, a dramatic escalation of U.S. government efforts to combat state-sponsored corporate espionage.

California-based CrowdStrike, which helps firms detect and respond to cyber threats, said it has observed a group of hackers — dubbed “Putter Panda” — launch attacks against defense, satellite and aerospace firms in the U.S., Japan and Europe.

“China’s decade-long economic espionage campaign is massive and unrelenting,” CrowdStrike CEO George Kurtz said in a statement. “Through widespread espionage campaigns, Chinese threat actors are targeting companies and governments in every part of the globe.”

Much of the CrowdStrike report focuses on the activities of a hacker named “cpyy,” a suspected member of a military group called Unit 61486.

CrowdStrike alleges that the PLA unit, operating since at least 2007, uses a variety of tools to break into company computers, including malware that exploits popular programs such as Adobe Reader and Microsoft Office.

The group is said to share some resources with Unit 61398, a Shanghai-based PLA hacking group that was unmasked last year by Mandiant, another U.S.-based..

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