Report: Pandemic Relief Theft Reflects Cyberthreat Group’s Potential to Expand Fraudulent Activities

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Some cybersecurity experts and attorneys said the theft of U.S. COVID-19 relief funds by a cyber hacking group with ties to the Chinese government, dubbed APT41, demonstrates the ability of the group to launch larger fraudulent activities using data it has obtained from the U.S. public, Bloomberg Law reported Thursday.

The U.S. Secret Service told the publication APT41 stole approximately $20 million in pandemic relief funds, including Small Business Administration loans and unemployment insurance funds.

NBC News first reported on the Secret Service’s finding on the hacking group.

Data from a Mandiant study released in March showed that a hacking campaign launched by APT41 compromised personal data and at least six state government websites.

The American Enterprise Institute quoted Haywood Talcove, CEO of the government business at LexisNexis Risk Solutions, as saying, “at least 70% of the money stolen by impostors ultimately left the country, much of it ending up in the hands of criminal syndicates in China, Nigeria, Russia and elsewhere.”

“These groups are definitely backed by the state,” added Talcove, a three-time Wash100 awardee.

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