Vietnam Tried To Hack US Officials While Biden Cut A Deal With Them

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Nick Pope Contributor
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The Vietnamese government reportedly attempted to hack U.S. officials and members of the media as the Biden administration negotiated a deal with Vietnam, The Washington Post reported Monday.

The Vietnamese government appears to have attempted to breach the communications and data of U.S. officials involved in foreign policy like Democratic Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy and Republican Texas Rep. Michael McCaul via Twitter, now known as X, according to the Post. The Vietnamese government also reportedly attempted to use Predator spyware to access the data of reporters and Asia-focused employees of think tanks as the Biden administration worked out an economic development deal with Vietnamese officials.

It does not appear that the attempt to breach the data of the U.S. officials and other targets was successful, according to the Post. The Vietnamese government reportedly used an anonymous Twitter account to post links on the website that would serve as the gateway to the spyware if clicked. (RELATED: China Hacked Top State Dept Officials’ Emails Ahead Of John Kerry’s Climate Meeting In Beijing: REPORT)

Amnesty International became aware of the hacking attempt and shared its findings with the Post and several other media outlets to use for their own investigative purposes, according to the Post.

The spyware used in the hacking attempt is very difficult to detect, and, if successful, is capable of compromising smartphone cameras, microphones and files, according to the Post. The attempted breaches were detected as early as May of this year.

The Biden administration ultimately reached an agreement with Vietnam that focuses on developing semiconductor chip supply chains and workforces, which the White House announced in September.

Vietnam, which is a communist state and former enemy of the U.S., maintains relatively close ties with the Chinese Communist Party, but the two states have also disagreed over Chinese maneuvers in the South China Sea, according to the Post. The Biden administration’s deal with Vietnam could potentially draw Vietnam out from China’s orbit and prompt the country to adopt a more pro-Western stature, according to the Post.

After the announcement of the development agreement, reports indicated that the U.S. and Vietnam engaged in discussions about a large transfer of weapons.

It is unclear whether or not American diplomats rebuked the Vietnamese government for the reported attempt to hack key officials, which could have enabled a foreign state to snoop on sensitive communications within the U.S. government, according to the Post. The bilateral relationship with Vietnam will provide the U.S. with a platform to navigate opportunities and challenges, a State Department spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The White House did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

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