Chinese hacking groups to ramp up cyber attacks on some industries, experts say

Companies in industries critical to China’s five-year plan face a higher risk of nation-state-sponsored cyber attacks.

Since 1953, the Chinese government has issued official five-year plans. Each plan outlines the economic development goals and the main drivers that will help the country achieve those ambitions. They also act as advance warning of industries hacker groups will likely target.

This was the case with the 12th plan and is the case with the current 13th. With work for the 14th plan likely underway, a new group of industries could find themselves under attack from a number of sophisticated hacker groups. “Organizations need to understand how they are viewed by their adversaries and in the case of nation-states such as China how attractive are their personnel, locations, data and core intellectual property to those states,” warns Adam Meyers, VP of intelligence at CrowdStrike.

A shopping list for hackers

The current five-year plan runs until 2020. In it, the People’s National Assembly of China set out goals around making China a “moderately prosperous society,” including 6.5 percent annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth, increasing domestic R&D, achieving climate goals and bringing more people out of poverty.

The 13th plan also included the “Made in China 2025” policy, which laid out the key industries in which the Chinese government is focused on becoming a world leader. These industries include;

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