Secureworks SolarWinds Orion: An Analysis of the China-Based Threat Actor

In December 2020, cybersecurity firm Secureworks published a report on a suspected China-based threat actor targeting the SolarWinds Orion platform. The report highlighted the significance of the attack, which took place several months before the SolarWinds breach that made headlines worldwide. This article will explore the details of the Secureworks report and its implications for cybersecurity professionals.


  • Explanation of the SolarWinds Orion breach
  • Overview of the Secureworks report


  • Brief history of Chinese cyber espionage
  • Previous attacks attributed to China

The SolarWinds Orion Attack

  • Overview of the SolarWinds Orion platform
  • Details of the attack on SolarWinds Orion
  • Evidence pointing to a China-based threat actor

The China Connection

  • Overview of China’s cyber espionage capabilities
  • Motivations for Chinese cyber espionage
  • Previous attacks attributed to China

The Threat to U.S. National Security

  • Discussion of the potential impact of the attack on U.S. government agencies
  • Overview of U.S. response to the breach


  • Analysis of the significance of the SolarWinds Orion breach
  • Future implications for cybersecurity professionals

The SolarWinds Orion breach was one of the most significant cyberattacks in recent history, with an estimated 18,000 organizations affected. The attack was carried out by a sophisticated threat actor who gained access to the SolarWinds Orion platform, allowing them to inject malware into software updates that were subsequently downloaded by SolarWinds customers. This malware provided the attackers with access to the networks of these organizations, giving them the ability to steal data and carry out other malicious activities.

The Secureworks report focuses on a separate attack on the SolarWinds Orion platform that took place in March 2020, several months before the main SolarWinds breach. This attack targeted a specific organization, which has not been named by Secureworks, and used similar techniques to those employed in the main SolarWinds attack. Secureworks has attributed this attack to a China-based threat actor, which they have dubbed “SPIRAL.”

China has a long history of cyber espionage, with the country’s government and military actively supporting cyber operations aimed at stealing intellectual property and sensitive information from foreign governments and businesses. The Chinese government has denied involvement in cyber attacks, but numerous reports have linked the country to various high-profile cyber espionage campaigns.

The SolarWinds Orion breach and the SPIRAL attack highlighted the potential threat posed by Chinese cyber espionage to U.S. national security. The U.S. government has taken steps to respond to the breaches, including imposing sanctions on Chinese entities believed to be involved in cyber espionage and launching investigations into the attacks.

In conclusion, the Secureworks report provides valuable insights into the SolarWinds Orion attack and its connection to a China-based threat actor. The report highlights the need for cybersecurity professionals to remain vigilant and take steps to protect their organizations from sophisticated cyber threats. As cyber attacks become increasingly complex and sophisticated, it is more important than ever for organizations to prioritize cybersecurity and invest in robust defenses.


  1. What is the SolarWinds Orion platform?
  • The SolarWinds Orion platform is a popular network management tool used by many organizations to monitor and manage their networks.
  1. What is a China-based threat actor?
  • A China-based threat actor is a cyber criminal or hacker believed to be operating from China or associated with the Chinese government.
  1. What is cyber espionage?
  • Cyber espionage is the use of digital tools and techniques to gain access to sensitive information or intellectual property belonging to another individual or organization.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button