Aspen Institute hacked by Chinese spies, spied on emails for over two months

The FBI has announced that International nonprofit organisation Aspen was hacked for last two months by Chinese hackers spying on Aspen’s employees emails.

aspen-hacked

The Huffingtonpost reports that Aspen Institute was unaware of the breach until FBI detected the suspicious activity traced back to China.

After this breach, Aspen has marked itself among the list of companies hacked by Chinese hackers. It was Apple, Facebook, The NewYork Times and Washington Post among the companies hacked by Chinese hackers. However China has denied all kind of allegations until now.

Trent Nichols, Director of Aspen’s IT services told Huffingtonpost that “this is not the first time when they are hacked, this is the second time in last two years. In this hack, the hackers steal the usernames, email addresses and passwords of total three of its employees including the email and password of Aspen’s president and chief executive Walter Isaacson, logged into the emails repeatedly to spy.”

The FBI detected the hack on 6th January 2013 and reported it to Aspen’s IT department, telling them they are hacked by Chinese hackers where hackers are spying on emails correspondence between India, China and Middle Eastern countries. 

We were shocked,”  “would just go in, read their emails and get out. They were basically snooping around to see what they could find.”

Isaacson told HuffPost that “the agent called back a couple of weeks later and said, ‘OK here are all your passwords that they got.’ And I realized it was both scary and felt like I had been violated. It made me angry.”

As for now, the reason and identities of hackers are unknown but it is believed that the employees were hacked via Phishing links with pseudo names, bluffing the employees into clicking the malicious link that installs malware into the system.

The Aspen Institute is an international nonprofit organization founded in 1950 as the Aspen Institute of Humanistic Studies.

The malware was later removed by the IT department and passwords were changed.


Waqas

Waqas Amir is a Milan-based cybersecurity journalist with a passion for covering latest happenings in cyber security and tech world. In addition to being the founder of this website, Waqas is also into gaming, reading and investigative journalism.