Report: Chinese hackers attacked national defense research lab at UH

(Hawaii News Now/file (custom credit))
Updated: Mar. 6, 2019 at 7:49 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The University of Hawaii has been identified among more than two dozen universities around the globe that have been the target of Chinese hackers.

The news was based on research first reported on by the Wall Street Journal.

According to cybersecurity experts, the coordinated hacking attempts are aimed at stealing U.S. military and economic secrets and date back to April 2017.

The Wall Street Journal said the University of Hawaii’s Applied Research Laboratory appeared to be the target of one such attack.

iDefense, a Cybersecurity intelligence unit of Accenture Security, told the Wall Street Journal that nonpublic files from the lab were laced with malware and sent to other targets, including Penn State.

The Applied Research Laboratory at UH is a “designated Navy-sponsored research laboratory” that “conducts strategic research for the Navy, the Department of Defense and other government agencies in the areas of Astronomy, Ocean Science, Remote Sensing, Electro Optics, and Engineering Support to Sensors, Communications, and Information Technology.”

Chinese officials have denied that they engage in cyberattacks.

In a statement, the University of Hawaii said it’s cooperating with federal agencies and cannot comment further on the specifics of the Wall Street Journal article.

“That said, the persistent cybersecurity threat to universities from both state and non-state actors has been well-documented," the university said. "This threat is a continuing one that targets academia, industry and other entities that work with valuable and sensitive information."

UH officials added that it’s continuously working to protect its networks from attacks.

The university’s Applied Research Laboratory was established in 2008, and is one of 13 of its kind affiliated with the Department of Defense.

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