Even the clouds are getting hacked.

Hackers linked to Chinese intelligence may have stolen data from hundreds of companies by targeting their cloud-storage service providers, exposing the vulnerability of increasingly popular network storage systems, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The hack — named Cloud Hopper by researchers who first discovered aspects of it in 2016 — involved thiefs jumping from one company to the next after they penetrated a cloud-storage system. This one went beyond previous indications of 14 unidentified companies and at least a dozen cloud providers, according to the Journal. 

The Journal’s investigation highlights a growing global risk as more and more of the world’s largest corporations store sensitive information with cloud companies, also called managed service providers.

Corporations that had relationships with the hacked cloud companies include behemoths such as Rio Tinto, Philips PHG, American Airlines Group Inc., Deutsche Bank AG, Allianz SE and GlaxoSmithKline Plc, the Journal reported. It said cloud companies involved included CGI Group Inc., Tieto Oyi and International Business Machines Corp., among others.

The U.S. indicted two Chinese nationals in December 2018, linking them with a group known as the APT10 Group. They remain at large, the newspaper said. Security firms have been tracking APT10 for more than a decade, according to the Journal, and it’s unclear whether the hackers remain inside the hacked companies’ networks.

  • Cybersecurity is much more than a tech problem, and top company leaders need to focus on how a business’s activities could be affected by a breach, rather than delegating responsibility entirely to the IT department, according to a recent Harvard Business Review study by Thomas J. Parenty and Jack J. Domet, co-founders of cybersecurity firm Archefact Group.
  • Cybersecurity Ventures estimated cybercrime will cost the world more than $6 trillion a year by 2021, more than double the 2015 level, according to the 2020 Official Annual Cybercrime Report sponsored by Herjavec Group.