Chinese Hackers Infected 20,000 Fortinet VPNs
Chinese Hackers Infected 20,000 Fortinet VPNs

In another revelation that adds to alarming news for cybersecurity, the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) confirmed that hackers sponsored by China have planted an infection in 20,000 Fortinet VPN devices globally.

This indicates that this gigantic cyber-espionage campaign will jolt businesses and governments that have used Fortinet VPNs to ensure secure remote access. The considerable lesson it imparts is about the growing sophistication and reach of state-sponsored cyber activities. The AIVD reported that hackers were targeting Fortinet’s security equipment by focusing their attacks on the flaws in FortiOS, a vulnerability patched last year.

This wide-ranging invasion means many organizations have applied no patch for quite some time now—in defiance of the patch’s existence. This failure of cybersecurity practices allowed the attackers to establish backdoors in the infiltrated systems and conduct espionage, stealing important information without getting detected. This incident highlights the importance of timely software updates and patches for effective cybersecurity defenses. Usually, organizations do not understand how immediately changes need to be updated, and this lets the threat actors exploit known vulnerabilities.

This is evident from thousands of devices that have been compromised, thus potentially exposing critical data and leading to the dislocation of operations. The potential consequences, such as those afforded by a cyber-espionage campaign, exceed immediate data breaches since systems affected by backdoors can be accessed repeatedly—constituting prolonged security risks. Companies and institutions affected by this breach need to carry out intensive investigations to identify and get rid of these backdoors to be able to guard their networks in the future.

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