We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

MI5 accuses China of hacking businesses

Secret warning for business leaders

According to reports in the weekend newspapers, the government has accused China of hacking into the computer systems of leading companies.

According to The Times, the MI5 director-general Jonathan Evans sent a confidential letter to 300 chief executives and security chiefs at financial institutions and legal firms last week warning them that they were under attack from Chinese state organisations.

The summary of the letter, which was posted (securely) on the website of the Centre for the Protection of the National Infrastructure, warned its recipients of the "electronic espionage attack".

"The contents of the letter highlight the following: the Director-General's concerns about the possible damage to UK business resulting from electronic attack sponsored by Chinese state organisations, and the fact that the attacks are designed to defeat best-practice IT security systems.

"The letter acknowledges the strong economic and commercial reasons to do business with China, but the need to ensure management of the risks involved."

According to one security expert quoted in the Times article, one of the techniques used by the Chinese groups were "custom Trojans", software designed to hack into the network of a particular firm and feed back confidential data.

The MI5 website already acknowledges the UK is a high priority espionage target.

"We estimate that at least 20 foreign intelligence services are operating to some degree against UK interests. Of greatest concern are the Russians and Chinese," it said.

Get the latest PC security news, reviews and tips at PC Advisor's Security Advisor website.


IDG UK Sites

5 reasons not to wait for the Apple Watch: Why you shouldn't buy the iWatch

IDG UK Sites

Why local multiplayer gaming is rapidly vanishing: we look at the demise of split-screen and LAN...

IDG UK Sites

How Emotional Debt is damaging digital design

IDG UK Sites

How to update your iPhone or iPad to iOS 8: including how to install iOS 8 if you don't have room