A Chinese threat actor Dragonbridge has been targeting rare earth mining companies in Australia, Canada, and the United States.
 

The Dragonbridge operations

The threat actor group, active since 2019, uses a network of inauthentic accounts on social platforms, websites, and forums to promote narratives in support of China’s political interests.
  • Recently, Dragonbridge has started a social media campaign focused on rare earth mining companies and attempting to spread misinformation around the harmful impacts of mining operations.
  • The campaign includes target companies such as Lynas Rare Earths Ltd (Australia), Appia Rare Earths & Uranium Corp (Canada), and USA Rare Earth.
 

What’s in it for China?

As per Mandiant, the targeted earth mining companies are of strategic significance to China. They are large enough to potentially threaten China's dominant position in the future. 
  • Lynas, the largest rare earth mining and processing company outside China, has signed a contract with the US Department of Defense for the construction of a Texas processing facility 
  • USA Rare Earth is planning a processing facility in Oklahoma, and Appia has discovered a new rare earth-bearing zone.
  • Rare earth metals form a critical component of consumer and military products, including aircraft engines and missile guidance systems.
 

Is there anything to worry about?

  • The Chinese threat actors claim that the building of a rare earth processing facility in Texas would expose the local population to radioactive contamination and health problems.
  • Security researchers discovered that the threat actor had created new social media accounts to promote the same narratives.
 

Conclusion

With threat actors targetting the rare earth mining companies in the USA and Australia, the message is loud and clear that state-backed hackers will leave no stone unturned to engage in tricks that benefit their country. Organizations must stay vigilant and report if there’s any wrong content against them.
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