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Beijing-linked hackers are coming for us again, warns the US

Uh oh.

Bill Hinton

The US government wants us to buckle up for another hack attack.

A Beijing-linked hacking group known as cloudhopper is after client data through technology service providers, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has warned, Reuters reported Wednesday.

The DHS issued a technical alert advising on how attacks by cloudhopper can be prevented, identified and remediated. Reuters says the group engages in "cyber espionage and theft of intellectual property."

Cloudhopper is reportedly targeting "managed service providers", firms that supply telecommunications, technology and other services to businesses globally, Ben Read, a senior intelligence manager at cybersecurity firm FireEye, told Reuters. These sensitive systems have networks which hackers can use to access clients. 

The flurry of hacking activity follows a slowdown in recent years caused by a 2015 agreement between former US president Barack Obama and Chinese president Xi Jinping to curb cyber-enabled economic theft.

But cybersecurity experts have since found a surge of Chinese hacking activity, warning of it at a security conference in Washington on Tuesday.

"I can tell you now unfortunately the Chinese are back," said Dmitri Alperovitch, chief technology officer of cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike. "We've seen a huge pickup in activity over the past year and a half. Nowadays they are the most predominant threat actors we see threatening institutions all over this country and western Europe."

The US isn't the first to notice cloudhopper's increased activity. Last year, the National Cyber Security Centre in the UK created a report on the group in collaboration with security units at PwC and BAE Systems.

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