A Chinese state-sponsored APT group has stolen at least $20m from US COVID-relief funds, in what appears to be a first-of-its kind campaign, according to the Secret Service.
The service told NBC that it linked prolific Chengdu-based APT41 to the raids, which targeted Small Business Administration (SBA) loans and unemployment insurance funds in more than 12 states.
However, the true scale of the campaign may be much greater. The Secret Service said it has over 1000 investigations currently open into theft and fraud related to public benefits programs.
“It would be crazy to think this group didn’t target all 50 states,” said Roy Dotson, national pandemic fraud recovery coordinator for the Secret Service.
The campaign began in mid-2020 and impacted 2000 accounts associated with more than 40,000 financial transactions, according to NBC.