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CYBER SECURITY - Chinese hackers target universities in bid to steal naval secrets

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Chinese hackers are alleged to have targeted universities around the world in a bid to steal naval secrets. A total of 27 institutions, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are understood to have been singled out by a cyber-espionage group.

Security research company iDefence says hackers sent malicious emails to their targets. A report by the Accenture-owned unit iDefense, first obtained by the Wall Street Journal, claims Chinese hackers carried out a targeted campaign against institutions in the US, Canada and South East Asia.

While the full list of universities has not been revealed, iDefense says they share a common interest in research on underwater warfare technology - particularly the launching of submarine missiles. The attackers used a technique called "spear phishing", which involved sending emails that were made to look like they had been sent by other universities, but which contained malware that allowed the hackers to access stored research.