State-linked Chinese hackers 'infiltrated Vatican'

Video Credit: Reuters - Politics
Published on July 29, 2020 - Duration: 01:20s

State-linked Chinese hackers 'infiltrated Vatican'

Hackers linked to the Chinese government have infiltrated Vatican computer networks, including the Roman Catholic Church's Hong Kong-based representative, a U.S. firm that tracks state-backed cyber attacks has said.

Joe Davies reports.

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State-linked Chinese hackers 'infiltrated Vatican'

Hackers linked to the Chinese government have reportedly infiltrated the Vatican's computer networks, including communications with the Catholic diocese in Hong Kong.

That's according to an American cybersecurity firm that tracks state-backed cyber attacks.

The company, called Recorded Future, says the attacks began in May.

Among the targets was the head of the Hong Kong Study Mission, who is seen as the de facto representative of Pope Francis to China.

The report says the targets used similar tools and methods previously identified with Chinese state-backed hacking groups.

China's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Wang Wenbin demanded "sufficient evidence" of the attack.

"We have repeatedly stressed that, China is a firm upholder of cybersecurity.

We are always strongly against and firm in cracking down on cyber espionage and cyber attacks.

The internet is a virtual space.

It's very difficult to trace the source and participants are diverse.

When investigating and determining cyber incidents, sufficient evidence should be presented, instead of groundless speculation." The reported hacking follows an extremely rare meeting between Beijing and the Vatican's foreign minister earlier this year.

Relations between the two have been improving - and they were expected to renew a provisional two-year deal on the operation of the Catholic Church in China this September.

A Vatican spokesperson had no immediate comment.

The Hong Kong Study Mission didn't respond to a Reuters request for comment, either.

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