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Hyundai and BMW Suffer Security Breach: Main Suspect is Vietnamese APT32 Group

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According to recent reports, two carmakers, Hyundai and BMW, were recently hacked, with evidence pointing towards the Vietnamese state-backed APT32 group, known as Ocean Lotus.
New reports from Germany indicate that Vietnamese government-backed hackers may have targeted two major carmakers, BMW and Hyundai. The attack on BMW allegedly happened at some point during this spring, according to Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR) and Taggesschau (TS). The report also indicates that the same hacking group also targeted Hyundai, although the details regarding this particular attack remain unknown. As for the attack on BMW, the reports claim that hackers installed a penetration toolkit known as Cobalt Strike. They then used it as a backdoor, which BMW discovered after some time. However, the company decided not to alert hackers and reveal that it is aware of their presence. Instead, they followed what hackers did, and they only cut them off last weekend, in the final days of November.

The Main Suspect Is Ocean Lotus

According to BR and TS, the group behind the attacks in likely APT32, also known as Ocean Lotus. They are believed to be working for the government of Vietnam, and they are well known for targeting the automotive industry. The group has been operating for at least 5 years now, as researchers were able to track their activity back to 2014. After they initially emerged, the group started attacking big foreign firms that were active in Southeast Asia, and particularly in Vietnam. They operated like this for three years, and then suddenly changed their approach in 2017, when they started targeting the automotive industry. BMW Hyundai

Connected to a Number of Attacks

In the last two years, they were connected to a number of attacks, with the best-known being their moves against Toyota. Initially, they hit Toyota Australia, which came out with the breach in February this year. After that, Toyota Vietnam and Toyota Japan revealed that they suffered security breaches as well. As for the purpose of the breaches, experts suspect that the Vietnamese government has started employing hackers to spy on foreign companies and steal intellectual property. China was already well-known for doing similar things, so it may have served as an inspiration for Vietnam.
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