Chinese hackers responsible for multi-year Volkswagen breach


Attackers Steal Over 19,000 Documents from Volkswagen Group, Suspected to Originate from China

Attackers have penetrated Volkswagen Group’s systems, stealing over 19,000 documents with intellectual property, German media reports. China is believed to be behind the attack.

Attackers successfully targeted the German automotive giant Volkswagen, for at least five years, ZDF reports. Internal documents seen by journalists show that between 2010 and 2015, malicious actors infiltrated Volkswagen’s systems, exfiltrating intellectual property several times over the period.

Attackers mostly focused on the company’s development of gasoline engines, transmission development, and dual-clutch transmission research. Additionally, attackers focused a lot of effort on Volkswagen’s electric vehicle research.

According to the German report, at least 19,000 documents were stolen from the automaker. The company’s security team successfully recovered files exfiltrated from Volkswagen, which means that the true extent of the attack could be more significant.

Experts to whom journalists discussed the hack mention that attackers’ IP addresses, the software they used, and the time zone they operate in point to the hack originating from China.

Volkswagen Group is one of the world’s largest automakers, with last year’s revenue exceeding $322 billion and employees over 667,000. The group’s brands include Audi, Lamborghini, MAN, Porsche, Skoda, Bentley, and others.

Last September, the company had to halt production over an IT incident. However, a cyberattack was ruled out.

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In a shocking revelation, German media reports that attackers have successfully breached Volkswagen Group’s systems, stealing over 19,000 documents containing valuable intellectual property. The attack, believed to have originated from China, targeted the automotive giant for at least five years, between 2010 and 2015.

The stolen documents primarily focused on Volkswagen’s development of gasoline engines, transmission technology, and electric vehicle research. The company’s security team managed to recover some of the exfiltrated files, but the true extent of the breach remains unknown.

Experts analyzing the attack point to the attackers’ IP addresses, software used, and operating time zone as indicators of Chinese involvement. Volkswagen Group, one of the world’s largest automakers with a revenue exceeding $322 billion and over 667,000 employees, encompasses renowned brands like Audi, Porsche, and Bentley.

This incident comes on the heels of a previous IT incident that forced Volkswagen to halt production last September, although a cyberattack was ruled out at the time. The breach underscores the growing threat of cyberattacks on major corporations and the importance of robust cybersecurity measures in safeguarding valuable intellectual property. Subscribe to our newsletter for more updates on cybersecurity news.

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