Amnesty International Canada’s branch reported a security breach in October that was linked to a group of threat-makers likely to be sponsored by China.
According to the international non-governmental organisation (NGO), it was October 5th that it discovered the breach. It noticed suspicious activity in its IT infrastructure.
The NGO discovered the attack after contacting Secureworks, a cybersecurity company that will investigate and protect its systems.
Amnesty International Canada stated that “The preliminary findings indicate that there was a cyber security breach using tools and techniques associated to specific advanced persistent threats groups (APTs).”
Secureworks, a leading cyber-security company in the world, later confirmed that the attackers were likely to be backed by a threat group sponsored by or tasked with the Chinese government.
Based on their tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs), and information targeted by them, the attack was tied to a Chinese threat group. This is consistent with Chinese state hackers’ known behaviour and tools.
To warn other human rights defenders about rising digital security threats, we are publicly speaking out on this attack. Both state and non-state actors who seek to interfere with civil society organisations’ work are strongly condemned.
— AmnestyCanada (@AmnestyNow)
There is no evidence that data was exfiltrated
Secureworks is still investigating whether or not the attackers accessed donor and membership information.
The NGO made the necessary security breaches known to the relevant authorities. It also notified donors and staff about the incident.
Ketty Nivyabandi, Secretary General Amnesty International Canada, stated that the case of cyberespionage demonstrates how dangerous it is for journalists and activists to work in today’s world.
Our work to expose and condemn these crimes has never been more important or relevant. “We will continue to highlight human rights violations where they happen and denounce government use of digital surveillance to suppress human rights.
This attack is not surprising, considering Amnesty International’s and reports about the Chinese government’s continuing abuse .