Chinese hacking group Aoqin Dragon quietly spied orgs for a decade


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Feb 4, 2016
A previously unknown Chinese-speaking threat actor has been discovered by threat analysts SentinelLabs who were able to link it to malicious activity going as far back as 2013.
Named Aoqin Dragon, the hacking group is focused on cyber-espionage, targeting government, education, and telecommunication organizations based in Singapore, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Australia.

The threat actor's techniques have evolved throughout the years, but some tactics and concepts remain unchanged.

Intrusion and infection tactics​

Aoqin Dragon has employed three distinct infection chains since it was first spotted, according to SentinelLabs. The earliest, used between 2012 and 2015, involves Microsoft Office documents that exploit known vulnerabilities like CVE-2012-0158 and CVE-2010-3333.

This tactic was spotted by FireEye in 2014 in a spear-phishing campaign coordinated by the Chinese-backed Naikon APT group, targeting an APAC government entity and a US think tank.

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