NICKEL targeting government organizations across Latin America and Europe

The Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) has observed NICKEL, a China-based threat actor, targeting governments, diplomatic entities, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) across Central and South America, the Caribbean, Europe, and North America. MSTIC has been tracking NICKEL since 2016 and observed some common activity with other actors known in the security community as APT15, APT25, and KeChang. Today, the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit (DCU) announced the successful seizure of a set of NICKEL-operated websites and disruption of their ongoing attacks targeting organizations in 29 countries, following a court order from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia granting Microsoft the authority to seize these sites.

MSTIC has tracked the current NICKEL operations, including attacks against government organizations, diplomatic entities, and NGOs, since September 2019. During this time, NICKEL activity has been observed across several countries, with a large amount of activity targeting Central and South American governments. Notably, NICKEL has achieved long-term access to several targets, allowing NICKEL to conduct activities such as regularly scheduled exfiltration of data.

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Source: Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center