Chinese Hackers Target Southeast Asia’s Gambling Market

A major threat looms over Southeast Asia’s gaming environment, and it is coming from within the region. SentinelOne, a famous cybersecurity organization located in the United States, has released a troubling study detailing the alarming surge of malware assaults and hacking activities carried out by Chinese hackers in the region.

This problem was discovered after a thorough analysis by SentinelOne’s top threat analysts, Tom Hegel and Aleksandr Milenkoski. Because of its timely and intelligent results, the reputed cybersecurity firm has quickly become a trusted source in the arena of global dangers.

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The company’s recently released report details the troubling revelation: “SentinelLabs has identified suspected Chinese malware and infrastructure potentially involved in China-associated operations directed at the gambling sector within Southeast Asia.”

The report also delves into the motives behind these concerning operations. Following a sweeping crackdown on Chinese gambling operations in Macau, Southeast Asia emerged as a prime focus for expanding the country’s gambling endeavors on the continent. The region, rife with data pertaining to monitoring and countering operations within the Chinese market, became an alluring target.

SentinelOne has even managed to trace a potential hacker group behind these attacks. The tactics, techniques, and procedures observed during the operations point to Bronze Starlight, a well-known hacker group notorious for its ransomware tactics concealing espionage motives.

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Elaborating on their findings, Hegel and Milenkoski provide insight: “This is a suspected Chinese ‘ransomware’ group whose main goal appears to be espionage rather than financial gain, using ransomware as means for distraction or misattribution.”

This unsettling revelation is just one facet of a larger operation dubbed “Operation ChattyGoblin.” The operation encompassed a series of attacks perpetrated by China-associated actors, with gambling companies in Southeast Asia squarely in their crosshairs. These companies fell victim to trojanized chat applications like Comm100 and LiveHelp100.

Among the compromised assets were prominent entities like Adobe Creative Cloud and Microsoft Edge, along with security software McAfee VirusScan executables susceptible to DLL hijacking.

This is not the first instance of global threat analysis powerhouses directing their attention toward Asian markets. Recorded Future’s Insikt Group, specializing in cyber attacks by Chinese and North Korean hackers, recently raised suspicions. The company’s extensive experience in threat analysis has led them to suggest that a suspected Chinese cyber-espionage organization, RedHotel, is targeting online gambling operations across various Southeast Asian countries.

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