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Chinese hackers stole $20M in COVID relief funds: Secret Service

Chinese government-linked hackers swiped at the least $20 million in COVID relief funds from the US authorities, in response to the feds.

The stolen taxpayer {dollars} got here from Small Business Administration loans and unemployment insurance coverage funds from greater than a dozen states, the Secret Service told NBC News. Half of the ill-gotten money has been recovered. 

APT41, a state-sponsored hacker group in the southwestern Chinese metropolis of Chengdu, is believed to be behind the assault, the outlet reported. 

“It would be crazy to think this group didn’t target all 50 states,” Roy Dotson, the nationwide pandemic fraud recovery coordinator for the Secret Service, informed NBC. 

The company describes APT41 as a “Chinese state-sponsored, cyber threat group that is highly adept at conducting espionage missions and financial crimes for personal gain.”

Five of its members have been indicted by federal prosecutors, however they haven’t been extradited to the US.

Stock image of hacker on a laptop.
APT41, a state-sponsored hacker group primarily based in the southwestern metropolis of Chengdu, is believed to be accountable for the assault.
Getty Images
An APT 41 Group wanted poster
An APT 41 Group wished poster at a Department of Justice press convention.
Bloomberg by way of Getty Images

The Secret Service mentioned it’s investigating greater than 1,000 attainable situations of each international and home criminals stealing public advantages.

“I’ve never seen them target government money before,” John Hultquist, head of intelligence evaluation at cybersecurity agency Mandiant, mentioned of the Chinese authorities. “That would be an escalation.” 

The US has beforehand mentioned Chinese hackers have been accountable for the info breaches of Equifax and Anthem Health. 

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