Guam is one of the important military centers of the United States, whose systems have been infected with Chinese malware, according to Microsoft’s announcement. China may have carried out digital espionage against the United States in the Pacific Ocean. Microsoft and the National Security Agency (NSA) have announced that a Chinese hacker group, under their government-backed Volt Typhoon, has installed surveillance malware on critical systems in Guam and other US areas. This group began its activities in mid-2021 and, according to reports, has endangered government, communication, production, educational, and other sectors. According to researchers’ announcements, Volt Typhoon focuses on stealth tactics. This hacker group uses strange techniques and has direct access to resources already available in the operating system and keyboard performance. Hackers use command-line tools to bypass the authentication system and access other data, such as archives of targeted system information. The Chinese hacking group also tries to hide its activities by sending data traffic through its controlled small administrative and home network hardware such as routers. Custom tools also help this team set up command line channels and system control through proxies, keeping their information hidden.
As Engadget reports, the Chinese malware installed on important American systems has not been used for attack, but its web-based approach can damage infrastructures. Microsoft and the NSA are releasing information to help victims deal with Volt Typhoon attacks. Of course, preventing Chinese hackers from infiltrating can be challenging, as accounts that have been compromised must be closed or changed.
US officials told The New York Times that, in their view, the breach of Guam systems is part of a large Chinese espionage system that also includes spy balloons. The balloon made headlines earlier this year when it flew over US nuclear sites. The reason for China’s focus on Guam is that the Andersen Air Force Base is considered the main station for any US response to a Chinese attack on Taiwan and is also a vital center for ships traveling in the Pacific Ocean.