During the month of August, FireEye published a report with somewhat surprising conclusions. Focusing on the activity of the famous group of hackers called APT 41, it aims to demonstrate that it acts both in terms of cyber espionage on behalf of Beijing and in terms of cybercrime for its own interests.

APT 41: illustration of the sometimes blurred border between cyber espionage and cybercrime

If APT 41 is a name known by all those interested in computer security, it is clear that a report of FireEye published this summer has made it possible to know more about this group of hackers.

Often associated with cyber espionage – APT 41 is in the pay of the Chinese government – the members of this group of hackers would not hesitate to act for their personal interests outside their “working hours”.

In fact, according to the California computer security company, APT 41 would take advantage of malicious software made available for state cyber-espionage campaigns to conduct particularly lucrative criminal operations.

Among the most hacker-targeted industries is the video game industry, the deployment of ransomware and the manipulation of cryptocurrencies that could allow cybercriminals to reap significant revenues.

It must be said that by the role played with Beijing, APT 41 has opportunities to perfect its attacks. Among other things, it frequently has the ability to embed malicious code in legitimate files distributed around the globe.

A group of hackers that can scare

As Sandra Joyce, CEO of FireEye’s Global Threat Intelligence explains, in a Point article, APT 41 is a group of hackers who “react quickly to changing victim environments and stakeholder advocacy”.

With about fifty software at their disposal, they can count on a solid arsenal. But Beijing’s support too can be an important weapon.

Yes, it is impossible for now to state clearly, but the Chinese government could cover the actions of the hacker group either by protecting them or by ignoring them. The probability of such coverage is high because if this were not the case, it could indicate that APT 41 escapes the Chinese authorities, which would be a real problem for Beijing.