A recent report from Secureworks indicates that the Canadian branch of Amnesty International has been infected with spyware. The intrusion was identified on October 5, 2022, and originated from a China-linked APT group. The methods and nature of the targeted information are indeed “consistent with those associated with Chinese cyber espionage threat groups,” according to Secureworks.
Amnesty International Canada says it has “taken swift and robust action to strengthen its digital security and restore online systems to a safe state.” The NGO has informed the authorities, its staff and donors of the breach.
“As a global human rights organization, we are acutely aware that we can be the target of attempts by states to disrupt or monitor our work,” said Ketty Nivyabandi, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada.
“We will continue to shine a light on human rights violations wherever they occur and expose governments’ use of digital surveillance to stifle human rights,” she adds.
Mike McLellan, director of intelligence at Secureworks, points to an increase in Chinese attacks on human rights organizations.
“China uses its cyber forces to gather political and military intelligence and spy. Organizations like Amnesty are interesting to China because of the people they work with,” he commented.