Crowdstrike has found that some UK think tanks (a body of experts providing advice and ideas on specific political or economic problems) were hacked by a China-based group last year.
The cyber security firm said that the breach began in April 2017 and witnessed repeated targeting of think tanks international security and defence.
The group linked to the Chinese state was called “Panda”, and other cyber activity increased around the globe at the same time, according to the security researchers.
Dmitri Alperovitch, Crowdstrike’s co-founder and chief technology officer, told the BBC that the hackers tried to steal reports and government information.
He said: “The UK government is trying to forge closer ties with China in terms of trade.
“That’s always of interest to the Chinese government, particularly when the US government is taking a hard line.”
The company also described the attempts to target victims in different countries and industries, as well as re-using different tools, as “pervasive and brash”.
Written by Leah Alger