Chinese hackers allegedly penetrated a company’s VPN technology to break into computer networks of the US defense industry sector, security consultant Mandiant said Tuesday. Mandiant linked at least two hacking groups, one of them believed to be an official Chinese cyber-spying operation, to malware used to exploit vulnerabilities in VPN security devices made by Pulse Secure, owned by Utah-based Ivanti. The group used the malware to try to hijack user and administrator identities and enter the systems of US defense industry companies between October 2020 and March 2021, Mandiant said. It said that governments and financial firms in the US and Europe were also targeted. There was no assessment of how many companies were affected or what the hackers did with their access to the networks.