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Foreign cyber hackers target major U.S. companies

By Viktoria Ristanovic
Nation & World Editor

Chinese and Iranian hackers have been targeting U.S. businesses and government agencies with cyberattacks. Security experts suspect these attacks were triggered by President Donald Trump’s “withdrawal from the (2015) Iran nuclear deal last year and his trade conflicts with China,” The New York Times reported earlier this month.

Recent Iranian attacks on American banks, businesses and government agencies have been more substantial than formerly reported. Dozens of corporations and multiple U.S. agencies have been hit, as claimed by seven confidential people briefed on the episodes, The New York Times reported.

Big companies such as Boeing, General Electric Aviation and T-Mobile were earmarked in the latest Chinese campaign, but it is still uncertain whether the attacks were successful, according to The Hill. The Chinese cyber attacks slowed down four years ago after former President Barack Obama and China’s president, Xi Jinping, came to an agreement to cease hacking that attempted to discover trade secrets, The New York Times reported.

However, the 2015 deal seems to have been unofficially halted in the thick of the ongoing trade tension between the U.S. and China, the intelligence officials and private security researchers reported. Hacking linked to China has resurged to previous levels, “although they are now stealthier and more sophisticated,” according to The New York Times.

The Iranian hackers supposedly became far less active following Obama’s signing of the nuclear deal with Tehran in 2015. The new Iran-credited cyber attacks are thought to be linked to Trump’s decision to pull out of the deal, The Hill reported.

As The New York Times reported, “Miriam Wugmeister, a cybersecurity specialist at the law firm Morrison Foerster,” reported that Fortune 500 companies were being attacked at “shockingly high” rates.

A main goal for the Chinese hackers, while supporting Beijing’s five-year economic plan, is to “make China a leader in artificial intelligence and other cutting-edge technologies,” The New York Times reported.

The hackers have become better at hiding their tracks and improving their cyber skills, and federal agencies and private companies have been combating advanced Chinese and Iranian hackers while also battling incessant Russian hacking efforts, according to The New York Times.

The Hill stated that “intelligence officials have also cautioned that Iran could become more aggressive in other ways.” Iranian officials are threatening to start constructing and improving Iran’s nuclear powers if Tehran “does not gain the tangible trade and investment benefits it expected” from the 2015 deal that Trump terminated.


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