China Hacked The Vatican, Says Somerville Cybersecurity Firm

SOMERVILLE, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — A cybersecurity firm based in Somerville has determined a Chinese state-sponsored group was behind a recent hack on the Vatican's computer networks, partially in an effort to more closely monitor religious groups.

According to the report by Recorded Future, from early May 2020, the Vatican and the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong were among several Catholic Church-related organizations targeted by "RedDelta," a Chinese-state sponsored threat activity group tracked by Insikt Group.

The report said the network intrusions happened before the anticipated September 2020 renewal of the landmark 2018 China-Vatican provisional agreement, a deal which "reportedly resulted in the Chinese Communist Party gaining more control and oversight over the country’s historically persecuted “underground” Catholic community."

In addition to the Holy See itself, Recorded Future said another likely target of the hacking campaign includes the current head of the Hong Kong Study Mission to China, whose predecessor was considered to have played a vital role in the 2018 agreement.

Recorded Future said it independently detected the hacking activity against the Vatican, based on its tracking of cybercriminal groups.

"This kind of activity has been very common over a number of years," a Recorded Future analyst told WBZ NewsRadio. "And it's not just China, it's most major countries across the world. There are difference in terms of what certain countries see as fair game, who they can target."

WBZ NewsRadio's James Rojas reports:

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(Photo: Getty Images)

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