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Report: Chinese hackers targeted Southeast Asian nations



Chinese hackers, likely state-sponsored, have been broadly targeting government and private-sector organizations across Southeast Asia, including those closely involved with Beijing on infrastructure development projects, according to a report released Wednesday by a U.S.-based private cybersecurity company.

Specific targets included the Thai prime minister’s office and the Thai army, the Indonesian and Philippine navies, Vietnam’s national assembly and the central office of its Communist Party, and Malaysia’s Ministry of Defense, according to the Insikt Group, the threat research division of Massachusetts-based Recorded Future.

Insikt said it determined that the high-profile military and government organizations in Southeast Asia had been compromised over the last nine months by hackers using custom malware families such as FunnyDream and Chinoxy. Those custom tools are not publicly available and are used by multiple groups believed to be Chinese state-sponsored, the group said.

The targeting also aligns with the political and economic goals of the Chinese government, bolstering the suspicion it is state-sponsored, Insikt said.

“We believe this activity is highly likely to be a state actor as the observed long term targeted intrusions into high value government and political targets is consistent with cyberespionage activity, coupled with identified technical links to known Chinese state-sponsored activity,” the company told The Associated Press.

China’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the allegations.

In the past, Chinese authorities have consistently denied any form of state-sponsored hacking, instead saying China itself is a major target of cyberattacks.

Of the cyber intrusions it tracked, Insikt Group said Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam were the top three targeted countries. Also targeted were Myanmar, the Philippines, Laos, Thailand, Singapore and Cambodia.

All countries were notified in October of the findings, though it is thought that at least some of the activity is ongoing, the company said.

“Throughout 2021, Insikt Group tracked a persistent cyber espionage campaign targeting the prime minister’s offices, military entities, and government departments of rival South China Sea claimants Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines,” the company said. “Additional victims during the same period include organizations in Indonesia and Thailand.”

Much of that campaign was attributed to a group being tracked under the temporary identifier of Threat Activity Group 16, or TAG-16, Insikt Group said.

“We also identified evidence suggesting that TAG-16 shares custom capabilities with the (China’s) People’s Liberation Army-linked activity group RedFoxtrot,” the group said.

Overall, Insikt Group said it had identified more than 400 unique servers in Southeast Asia communicating with malware, but it was not clear what information had been compromised.

“Many of the identified incidents spanned several months, so it is highly likely that the respective threat actors maintained long-term access to the victim networks and were able to obtain victim data over this time period in support of intelligence gathering efforts,” Insikt told AP. “At this time, we do not have insight into the specific data obtained by the threat actors.”

Some of the information on Indonesia was disclosed in a previous report from the Insikt Group in September, and Indonesian authorities said at he time they had found no evidence their computers had been compromised.

Insikt Group said the earlier activity directed at Indonesia from malware servers operated by the “Mustang Panda” group gradually stopped in mid-August, following a second notification the company provided to the country’s authorities.

Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Teuku Faizasyah said he did not have any information regarding Insikt Group’s new findings that the ministry had also been targeted.

Similarly, Thailand’s army said it had no immediate information that its cybersecurity team had detected any intrusions into its servers.

Col. Ramon Zagala, spokesman for the Philippine armed forces, said the military had not yet seen Insikt’s report but that “it takes all kinds of potential attacks seriously and has measures in place to protect our vital systems.”

Insikt Group said it had also detected activity in Cambodia and Laos believed linked to Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative to build ports, railways and other facilities across Asia, Africa and the Pacific.

Poorer countries have welcomed the initiative, but some have complained they are left owing too much to Chinese banks.

Just last week, Laos inaugurated a $5.9 billion Chinese-built railway linking the country with southern China.

“Historically, many Chinese cyber espionage operations have heavily overlapped with projects and countries strategically important to the BRI,” the Insikt Group noted, referring to the Belt and Road Initiative.

Cambodian government spokesman Phay Siphan said the country’s own agencies had not detected any hacking of servers noted by Insikt Group.



Password Management in Network Security



Password Management in Network Security

When it comes to ensuring the highest levels of cybersecurity for any establishment, password management in network security is one of the most paramount factors in guaranteeing security. As one of the essential cybersecurity measures, password management is a critical element for any online activity, whether for software or hardware. Everything is protected with a password.

What is Password Manager and How does it Work?

To those not familiar with the concept, password management’s significance exceeds the creation of a strong password to protect your data or account. It is a cybersecurity system. A system that manages any saved login credentials, all while guaranteeing a safeguarded relocation of data from one device to another. When coming up with a valid password, a few factors must be taken into account, such as the potential of being exposed to high risks and identity theft.

For any establishment, the correct password manager helps to monitor any activity and amounts of logins for servers people work on. As a software application, it is developed for storing and managing online credentials. With the increased available platforms and programs requiring safety credentials, the risk of losing or forgetting a password has never been higher. User password management, such as Google password manager, helps users with a handful of passwords for essential web applications.

By providing the needed digital space to generate and store any, and all passwords in one location, password management in network security keeps any data safe and secure in various ways, including biometrics data.

Why Use Password Manager?

Through the encryption of users’ logins, a reliable password manager protects your credentials and cannot be accessed until the master password is submitted. In this case, no password is stored on the device itself or even on the manager’s servers. While some might think that storing all of your important passwords in one place might be hazardous, the truth is, password managers are the safest bet to safeguard all your passwords, as the chances of a password manager being breached are extremely low and almost very unlikely to happen.

Without getting into all the technical terms as to why password managers are the safest option, these applications can be perceived as the lesser evil. While users will still need to create one master password – preferably to be long and a bit complicated – it will guarantee the protection of any login credential for any account or credit card information.

The ideal password managers to download are backed by two-factor authenticators, where users are asked for a one-time code alongside the password whenever a new login into a new device takes place.

Password Management Best Practices in Network Security

In terms of obtaining the highest level of protection for network security, few practices are applicable to almost anyone to ensure the highest level of user password management.

1. Training

Training the team and raising awareness of potential password threats is one of the most important things to consider. Team members working on network security have to understand the risk of cybersecurity and the importance of implementing the right measure to protect and secure any account credential.

2. Enforcement of Reliable and Strong Passwords

Enforcing the creation of strong passwords and establishing they follow the best practices for network security to protect the network and its data while respecting the integrity, confidentiality, and accessibility of the network’s computer systems.

This includes performing a thorough network audit, deploying network and security devices, disabling file sharing features, updating antivirus and anti-malware software, securing all routers, using a private IP address, and finally establishing a network security maintenance system.

3. Multi-factor Authentication

Endorsing your password management with two-factor authentication is like adding another solid layer of protection to your accounts and their passwords. Multi-factor authentication ensures that only people responsible for the network have access to its sensitive data.

Inside Telecom provides you with an extensive list of content covering all aspects of the tech industry. Keep an eye on our Cybersecurity space to stay informed and up-to-date with our daily articles.

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How to Check a Suspicious Link Without Opening it



We are all well aware of the troubles opening a fishy link can lead us to.  Luring users to click on a given link has been of one the well-known techniques to get access to the device, install virus and malware or even go as far as creating a full ransomware attack. To protect your computer and private information, there are multiple techniques to check links without opening them. What is important though is never to open the link if it is suspicious.

When you are not dealing with a shortened URL, the best way to go thoroughly through the link to see if there is any spelling mistake. Attackers usually tend to change a minimum number of letters so that you are unable to tell the difference. For instance, things like www.goagle.com instead of www.google.com should catch your attention with the second ‘o’ of Google replaced with an ‘a’.

Emails are the best sources for phishing attacks. These kinds of attacks are used to steal some sensitive information such as passwords and credit card information. The best way to avoid these kinds of attacks is to authenticate the sender. For that purpose, do not only check the name of the sender, you need to double-check the email the sender is using. In general, attackers use credible sender names with emails which do not correspond to the promoted identity. Next time you get an email from your bank like “XBank”, check that the sender email is person@Xbank.com rather than person@anyothermailclient.com.

Many websites actually provide link checking or link scanning features. This is a very neat technique to simple check the link before clicking on it.


www.virustotal.com  is an excellent website for this task. This online tool practically does the job of an anti-virus. When you go to the website, you have the possibility to analyze files and URL for malware or any other security breach. Once you submit your file or enter the URL, the website will use different tools and software, then provide you with a detailed output from each of these tools. If you are unsure if a given software is credible enough, you can compare it to the output of other platforms on a single website.

Use a Short URL Expander

Sometimes attackers try to shorten URLs to hide any malicious intention. Analyzing shortened URL is not straightforward. To overcome this problem, copy the provided URL without opening it and use specific websites that actually expand the provided URLs. Then, you can analyze the original URL for possible security breaches.  Many websites are there to do this task. Just search for “short URL expander” on your search engine and use the top provided websites.

Upgrade your Anti-Virus with Internet Security Features

Anti-virus software is commonly used to protect personal computers from viruses and other malware. While these are available for free, you can easily upgrade them to include internet security features for a small monthly fee. This will bring major improvement to your internet browsing experience including custom-made safe browsing tools.

Use Google Transparency Report

Google provide a nice tool to check for the safety of websites. To do so, visit https://transparencyreport.google.com and enter the URL in question. The Google source will then provide you with a safety report of that website.  

The nicest solution is kept to the end. When you hover over a link in your email client or web browser, a small square appears including all the information related to the chosen URL. These details can be used to give a preliminary indication whether to trust the source.

Final Thoughts

Suspicious links are everywhere! To make sure they don’t catch you by surprise, follow the highlighted and you’ll be safe to go.

“Inside Telecom provides you with an extensive list of content covering all aspects of the tech industry. Keep an eye on our Cybersecurity space to stay informed and up-to-date with our daily articles.”

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Disadvantages of AI in Cybersecurity



Cybersecurity and artificial intelligence (AI) are two very trending topics at the moment. AI has been the pivotal elements modifying business strategies, improving decision-making processes, and triggering automation in every industry in the world. The latest sentience debate is a clear indicator on serious and advanced AI is becoming nowadays. Cybersecurity is the other important element of today’s technological world. With an increasing reliance on data and the move to online services that require an individual’s biometrics, security essential in preventing data thefts and associated cybercrimes. AI has undeniably improved cybersecurity practices by allowing a real-time analysis of internet traffic to discover possible threats at the earliest and take defensive actions. This important learning process hides however several disadvantages of AI in cybersecurity.

What Are the Downsides to AI in Cybersecurity?

The touted advantages of AI in cybersecurity are real and very useful. However, the increasing adoption of AI solutions for security is actually causing problems at different levels.

Hackers Use AI as Well

When it comes to maturity in technology, hackers are the best at it. These individuals sitting behind computer screens logging data and doing advanced analytics to identify any loophole or vulnerability they can use to their benefits. The use of AI as far as cybersecurity is concerned is a double-edged sword. It is actually a race of who can develop a better algorithm that caters better to the data which is circulating online. In this sense, the use of AI is a big threat to security.

Another issue is that while a company is analyzing and learning from data to discover threats, a hacker is concurrently analyzing the company’s cyber-defense mechanisms and policies to find “open doors’ that will take it into the system to complete the intended attack.

Data Confidentiality

AI algorithms are associated with the analysis with large volumes of data, a key requirement for the developed algorithms to produce accurate outputs. The data a company deals with contains normal traffic related to daily transactions and activities, but also sensitive information related to the clients including their biometrics and personal information. What happens to our data when it goes to the AI-agent though is another thing. Protecting the data is key when AI is used for cybersecurity reasons. The secrecy of the clients’ data should not be compromised for any reason.

Increasing Need for Data

The field of cybersecurity is constantly evolving with ingenious attacks and threats emerging every now and then. Browser-in-the-browser attacks and increasingly advanced ransomware attacks have been notable examples in 2022. In order to discover attacks at a later stage, the AI algorithm needs to have data to do the proper training. The increasingly dynamic environment with threats emerging and evolving will lead to a surge in the required volumes of data, which can potentially not be readily available to have a fast response to the attack itself. Whether it is the ability of AI to keep track of the exponential growth in data or the availability of data for the AI-algorithm to produce results is a big disadvantage of this approach for cybersecurity

Will Cybersecurity be Replaced by AI?

With the drive towards more and more automation, it is questionable whether this can be applied as well for cybersecurity practices. AI can certainly assist in processing and learning from data and produce insights. However, the real decision maker in such as sensitive area where no errors can be tolerated is the cybersecurity expert himself. The only way for AI to replace cybersecurity is when it becomes sentient or developed enough to think and act like humans do. There is still a long way for that to concretize.

Explainable or interpretable AI is a key intermediate step in reaching this target. First, we need to understand how AI produces results. Proper cybersecurity practices require a reduction in bias while optimizing the performance of the algorithm.

How Will AI Affect Cybersecurity Jobs?

The adoption of AI will certainly cause major shifts in the cybersecurity job market as in the case in other industries, but probably at a smaller scale. The level of skill and experience needed to thwart cyberattacks will safeguard the need for security experts to provide the final decision regarding suspicious data patterns.

On the other hand, the incorporation of AI will call for new skilled workers that can manage and optimize the performance of the algorithms. Another alternative would be for existing workforce to be upskilled and retrained to handle the new analysis tools.


As data is becoming the basic unit for decision making, AI has invaded all industries and businesses, including cybersecurity. Companies are starting to incorporate learning algorithms to their offered services in order to have a more intelligent management of the different security threats. However, the role of AI in cybersecurity should be considered with enough judgment. The addition of AI would increase the complexity in the data management process, notably in terms of data privacy and the continuous need for more data.

“Inside Telecom provides you with an extensive list of content covering all aspects of the tech industry. Keep an eye on our Cybersecurity and Artificial Intelligence space to stay informed and up-to-date with our daily articles.”

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