‘Dancing Panda’ Chinese spies hacked Emails of Top U.S. Officials and used it to exploit their social networks by spreading malware
US Governments trouble of being intruded by foreign cyber attacks does not seems to be ending soon, with just days after the disclosure of Russian hackers successful compromise over the Pentagon’s Joint Staff email system, a new report from NBC News citing a senior U.S. intelligence official and a top secret document says Chinese cyber spies successfully accessed private emails of top US National security personnel since at least April 2010.
The intrusion which has been code-named as “Dancing Panda” or “Legion Amethyst” by US officials targeted all top national security and trade officials, said a NSA top secret briefing from 2014. The intrusion which began in sometime around April 2010 was still going on at the time of the briefing.
Earlier in 2011 Google already confirmed that the Gmail accounts of US Officials were compromised but the briefing suggests that not only Google’s Gmail but email accounts from other service providers were also compromised and used to harvest the email address contacts of targeted officials which was then used to exploit their social networks by sending malware to their friends and colleagues, the documents said.
The official government emails which uses additional security layers were not compromised says the senior U.S. intelligence official.
The email-intrusion also coincides with the time period of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email account during 2009 to 2013.
An earlier revelation from NSA Whistle blower Edward Snowden suggested that Chinese cyber spies sometime around 2010 tried to spy on four U.S. officials, including then Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead.
A last week report from NBC News says that the Chinese have hacked the US nearly 700 times of which more than 600 successful attacks were on corporate, private or government networks.