Congress presses Secret Service for more details about state-sponsored foreign hackers stealing Covid relief funds


At a House Oversight Committee hearing on Wednesday. Members of Congress from both parties pressed the Secret Service for more information. About foreign state-sponsored hackers stealing Covid relief funds. Citing an exclusive todaystrend News report on fraud by hackers linked to the Chinese government.

In December, todaystrend News broke the story that APT41, a hacking group.

Linked to the Chinese government. Stole at least $20 million in US Covid relief benefits. Including Small Business Administration loans. And unemployment insurance funds, in more than a dozen states, according to Secret. Service.

On Wednesday, Rep. Raja Krishnamurthy, D-Ill., pressed witness David Smith. Assistant director of the Secret Service’s Office of Investigation. To reveal the full extent of cyberattacks by such groups on state computer systems. “Since the article came out, they’ve targeted more. Than a dozen states,” Krishnamurthy said.

Smith declined to elaborate and demurred when Krishnamurthy. Asked if a Russian state-sponsored hacking group had stolen the funds.

“Whether an entity is state-sponsored or not is generally. Why we don’t want to focus on them We follow the money,” Smith said.

Rep. Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., cited the todaystrend News report. And asked Smith, “When do you think. The Secret Service expects a resolution on whether the hackers. Acted on their own initiative or on government orders?”

Smith replied, “Sir, sometimes in the context of a criminal.

Investigation those answers never match up.”

Asked about the progress of the APT41 case. Smith said, “This case is a large, very broad case out of our Denver field office. And that will unpack for a while, sir.”

The theft of taxpayer funds by Chengdu.-Based hacker APT41 is the first example of pandemic fraud. Tied to foreign, state-sponsored cybercriminals. That the US government has acknowledged. But it could be the tip of the iceberg. According to US law enforcement officials and cybersecurity experts.

In an interview on the eve of the hearing, the committee’s new chairman. Rep. Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., called the theft of taxpayer-funded pandemic. Funds by a foreign adversary “a national security issue.”

“It’s one thing for American criminals to steal that money. But when we find out that our criminals are our adversaries in China. And Russia and other countries around the world, that makes it even worse. You rub salt in the wound,” Comer said. “Cyber in American History This could be. The largest asset transfer from the government to the attackers.”

Comer told todaystrend News that he has launched.

A subcommittee on cybersecurity to explore. Options for strengthening the government’s defenses in hopes of preventing. Similar intrusions into state and federal computer systems.

The day after todaystrend News published its initial story in December. The state of Maryland banned the use of TikTok. And other Chinese and Russian products by state agencies, citing todaystrend News reports. That hackers linked to the Chinese government were stealing billions in Covid benefits. State governments in the United States

In announcing the emergency directive, the state said the companies. “Present an unacceptable level of cyber security risk to the state. And may engage in activities such as cyber-espionage. Surveillance of government agencies. And inappropriate collection of sensitive personal information.”

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