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Hackers in Vietnam target U.S. politicians and journalists

SANTA MONICA – Hackers in Vietnam with a supposed affiliation to the Vietnamese government attempted to install spyware on the cell phones of members of congress and one high profile journalist the Washington Post reported earlier today.

Using X, the social media website formerly known as Twitter, the Vietnamese hackers tried to persuade users to click on links that would then install the Predator spyware on the cell phones ultimately giving the hackers and Vietnamese government access to the phones’ cameras and microphones.

The hack seemingly took place earlier this year and prior to President Biden’s visit to Vietnam. Biden went to Vietnam to discuss China’s rising power in Asia while he also attempted the convince Vietnamese government of America’s commitment to Asia.

Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the Foreign Relations Committee and chair of its subcommittee on the Middle East were targets of the hacking attack. CNN journalist and on-air personality, Jim Sciutto, the outlet’s chief national security analyst, was also targetted.

Recently, the U.S. government mandated that anyone doing business with certain companies that create and sell state-of-the-art hacking tools, must register and disclose their potential business relationships. The U.S. government is considered after the proliferation of the Pegasus and Predator programs that have been used by customers in Armenia, Egypt, Greece, Madagascar, and Saudi Arabia reports Citizens Lab.

It is not clear how the U.S. will respond to this most recent cyber threat.

Some informational content courtesy of the Washington Post, Amnesty International, and The Citizens Lab.

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