Cyber warfare appears to be the latest tool deployed in the territorial dispute over the South China Sea

Hackers have used targeted malware to steal data from some of the governments and private sector organisations involved in the dispute over territory and sovereignty in the South China Sea.

Cybersecurity company F-Secure Labs uncovered the malware, dubbed NanHaiShu by researchers, which it said targeted the Philippines Department of Justice, a major international law firm involved in the South China Sea case, and the organisers of November 2015's Philippines-based Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation APEC Summit.

Erka Koivunen, cyber security advisor at F-Secure, said the NanHaiShu campaign is particularly sophisticated in nature.

"This isn't an ordinary, run-of-the-mill opportunist piece of malware, but something that somebody has put some thought into and effort into, running a campaign with a selected group of organisations and individuals that are being targeted."

NanHaiShu is a remote access Trojan which is able to send any information from an infected machine to a remote command and control server with a Chinese IP address.

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