Global finance falls victim to China’s spyware campaign

Global finance falls victim to China’s spyware campaign

US and Germany warn companies about backdoors in Chinese tax software

TOKYO — U.S. and German investigative and intelligence agencies issued grave warnings in recent months that Chinese government-mandated tax software contains malware, which enables backdoor access into the applications that install it.

If the allegations are true, local units of foreign companies operating in China as well as global financial institutions will be exposed to the risk. But, while some countries are taking urgent steps to mitigate this risk, Japan’s public and private sectors seem to be slow in taking action to protect its financial institutions and companies.

U.S. cyber security company Trustwave Holding on June 25 issued a warning about spyware embedded in the Chinese government-mandated Intelligent Tax software, which U.S. companies operating in China are required to install by local banks. Once the software is installed, the backdoor will be secretly embedded in companies’ systems, Trustwave warned.

The advice prompted the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation to issue a warning to American companies operating in China on July 23. The FBI warned that the value-added tax software provided by two exclusive distributors — Baiwang Cloud and Aisino Corp. — contained malware which enables backdoor access.