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US Sanctions 3 North Korean Hacking Groups Accused for Global Cyber Attacks

US Sanctions 3 North Korean Hacking Groups Accused for Global Cyber Attacks
September 14, 2019Swati Khandelwal
The United States Treasury Department on Friday announced sanctions against three state-sponsored North Korean hacking groups for conducting several destructive cyberattacks on US critical infrastructure. Besides this, the hacking groups have also been accused of stealing possibly hundreds of millions of dollars from financial institutions around the world to ultimately fund the North Korean government's illicit weapons and missile programs. The three North Korean hacking groups in question are the well-known Lazarus Group , and its two sub-groups, Bluenoroff and Andariel . The sanctions announced by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) claim that all the three groups are "agencies, instrumentalities, or controlled entities of the Government of North Korea" based on their relationship with Pyongyang's central intelligence bureau called the Reconnaissance General Bureau (RGB). Specifically, the sanctions aim to lock any fore

US Indicts Two Chinese Government Hackers Over Global Hacking Campaign

US Indicts Two Chinese Government Hackers Over Global Hacking Campaign
December 20, 2018Mohit Kumar
The US Department of Justice on Thursday charged two Chinese hackers associated with the Chinese government for hacking numerous companies and government agencies in a dozen countries. The Chinese nationals, Zhu Hua (known online as Afwar, CVNX, Alayos and Godkiller) and Zhang Shilong (known online as Baobeilong, Zhang Jianguo and Atreexp), are believed to be members of a state-sponsored hacking group known as Advanced Persistent Threat 10 ( APT 10 ) or Cloudhopper that has been working from over a decade to steal business and technology secrets from companies and government agencies around the world. According to the indictment , the alleged hackers targeted more than 45 companies and government agencies from 2006 to 2018 and stole "hundreds of gigabytes" of sensitive data and personal information from its targets. Both Hua and Shilong worked for Huaying Haitai Science and Technology Development Company and are alleged to have committed these crimes at the directio

Twitter Discloses Suspected State-Sponsored Attack After Minor Data Breach

Twitter Discloses Suspected State-Sponsored Attack After Minor Data Breach
December 18, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Twitter has been hit with a minor data breach incident that the social networking site believes linked to a suspected state-sponsored attack. In a blog post published on Monday, Twitter revealed that while investigating a vulnerability affecting one of its support forms, the company discovered evidence of the bug being misused to access and steal users' exposed information. The impacted support form in question was used by account holders to contact Twitter about issues with their account. Discovered in mid-November, the support form API bug exposed considerably less personal information, including the country code of users' phone numbers associated with their Twitter account, and "whether or not their account had been locked." So far the company has declined to provide more details about the incident or an estimate for the number of accounts potentially impacted but says it believes that the attack may have ties to state-sponsored actors. "During our

New Shamoon Malware Variant Targets Italian Oil and Gas Company

New Shamoon Malware Variant Targets Italian Oil and Gas Company
December 14, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Shamoon is back… one of the most destructive malware families that caused damage to Saudi Arabia's largest oil producer in 2012 and this time it has targeted energy sector organizations primarily operating in the Middle East. Earlier this week, Italian oil drilling company Saipem was attacked and sensitive files on about 10 percent of its servers were destroyed, mainly in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, but also in India and Scotland. Saipem admitted Wednesday that the computer virus used in the latest cyber attack against its servers is a variant Shamoon—a disk wiping malware that was used in the most damaging cyber attacks in history against Saudi Aramco and RasGas Co Ltd and destroyed data on more than 30,000 systems. The cyber attack against Saudi Aramco, who is the biggest customer of Saipem, was attributed to Iran, but it is unclear who is behind the latest cyber attacks against Saipem. Meanwhile, Chronicle, Google'

TRITON Malware Targeting Critical Infrastructure Could Cause Physical Damage

TRITON Malware Targeting Critical Infrastructure Could Cause Physical Damage
December 15, 2017Wang Wei
Security researchers have uncovered another nasty piece of malware designed specifically to target industrial control systems (ICS) with a potential to cause health and life-threatening accidents. Dubbed Triton, also known as Trisis, the ICS malware has been designed to target Triconex Safety Instrumented System (SIS) controllers made by Schneider Electric—an autonomous control system that independently monitors the performance of critical systems and takes immediate actions automatically, if a dangerous state is detected. Researchers from the Mandiant division of security firm FireEye published a report on Thursday, suggesting state-sponsored attackers used the Triton malware to cause physical damage to an organization. Neither the targeted organization name has been disclosed by the researchers nor they have linked the attack to any known nation-state hacking group. According to separate research conducted by ICS cybersecurity firm Dragos, which calls this malware "

Dragonfly 2.0: Hacking Group Infiltrated European and US Power Facilities

Dragonfly 2.0: Hacking Group Infiltrated European and US Power Facilities
September 07, 2017Unknown
The notorious hacking group that has been in operation since at least 2011 has re-emerged and is still interested in targeting the United States and European companies in the energy sector. Yes, I am talking about the ' Dragonfly ,' a well-resourced, Eastern European hacking group responsible for sophisticated cyber-espionage campaigns against the critical infrastructure of energy companies in different countries in past years. In 2014, we reported about the Dragonfly groups ability to mount sabotage operations against their targets—mainly petroleum pipeline operators, electricity generation firms and other Industrial Control Systems (ICS) equipment providers for the energy sector. Researchers from cyber security firm Symantec who discovered the previous campaign is now warning of a new campaign, which they dubbed Dragonfly 2.0 , saying "the group now potentially has the ability to sabotage or gain control of these systems should it decide to do so" and has

US Warns of 'DeltaCharlie' – A North Korean DDoS Botnet Malware

US Warns of 'DeltaCharlie' – A North Korean DDoS Botnet Malware
June 14, 2017Swati Khandelwal
The United States government has released a rare alert about an ongoing, eight-year-long North Korean state-sponsored hacking operation. The joint report from the FBI and U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) provided details on " DeltaCharlie ," a malware variant used by " Hidden Cobra " hacking group to infect hundreds of thousands of computers globally as part of its DDoS botnet network. According to the report, the Hidden Cobra group of hackers are believed to be backed by the North Korean government and are known to launch cyber attacks against global institutions, including media organizations, aerospace and financial sectors, and critical infrastructure. While the US government has labeled the North Korean hacking group Hidden Cobra, it is often known as Lazarus Group and Guardians of Peace – the one allegedly linked to the devastating WannaCry ransomware menace that shut down hospitals and businesses worldwide. DeltaCharlie – DDoS Botnet M

Malware Hijacks Microphones to Spy On Ukrainian Businesses, Scientists and Media

Malware Hijacks Microphones to Spy On Ukrainian Businesses, Scientists and Media
February 21, 2017Swati Khandelwal
Ukraine has once again been a target of a potential hacking attack that infected computer systems from dozens of Ukrainian businesses with highly sophisticated malware, allowing hackers to exfiltrate sensitive data and eavesdrop on their network. Late last year, the country also suffered a power outage caused by the same group of hackers that targeted Ukraine's power grid with the BlackEnergy malware in late 2015, causing 225,000 residents to lose electricity. Now security researchers from threat intelligence firm CyberX have uncovered an advanced malware-based operation that has already siphoned over 600 gigabytes of data from about 70 victim organizations, including critical infrastructure, news media, and scientific research. Operation BugDrop: Damages and Modus Operandi Dubbed " Operation BugDrop ," the large-scale malware campaign has been perpetrated against targets in the Ukraine, though targets from other countries include Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Austr

Hackers Suspected of Causing Second Power Outage in Ukraine

Hackers Suspected of Causing Second Power Outage in Ukraine
December 21, 2016Swati Khandelwal
The same group of hackers that caused the power outage across several regions in Ukraine last Christmas holidays might have once again shut down power supply in northern Ukraine during the weekend. According to Ukrainian energy provider Ukrenergo, a cyber attack on Kyiv's power grid may have caused the power outages in the country on Saturday, December 17, near midnight. The blackout affected the northern part of Kiev, the country's capital, and surrounding areas, Ukrenergo Director Vsevolod Kovalchuk explained in a post on Facebook. Shortly after the incident, Ukrenergo engineers switched to manual mode and started restoring power in approximately 30 minutes in an effort to deal with the cyber attack. Power was fully restored after just an hour and fifteen minutes of the blackout. According to Kovalchuk, the one responsible for the weekend outage could be an "external interference through data network," however, the company's cybersecurity experts a

Uh oh, Yahoo! Data Breach May Have Hit Over 1 Billion Users

Uh oh, Yahoo! Data Breach May Have Hit Over 1 Billion Users
October 01, 2016Swati Khandelwal
The massive data breach that Yahoo! confirmed to the world last week is claimed by the company to have been carried out by a "state-sponsored actor" in 2014, which exposed the accounts of at least 500 Million Yahoo users . But, now it seems that Yahoo has downplayed a mega data breach and trying to hide it's own security blunder. Recently the information security firm InfoArmor that analyzed the data breach refuted the Yahoo's claim, stating that the data breach was the work of seasoned cyber criminals who later sold the compromised Yahoo accounts to an Eastern European nation-state. Over 1 Billion Accounts May Have Been Hacked Now, there's one more twist in the unprecedented data heist. A recent advancement in the report indicates that the number of affected Yahoo accounts may be between 1 Billion and 3 Billion. An unnamed, former Yahoo executive who is familiar with the company's security says that the Yahoo's back-end system's arch

Yahoo Confirms 500 Million Accounts Were Hacked by 'State Sponsored' Hackers

Yahoo Confirms 500 Million Accounts Were Hacked by 'State Sponsored' Hackers
September 22, 2016Mohit Kumar
500 million accounts — that's half a Billion users! That's how many Yahoo accounts were compromised in a massive data breach dating back to 2014 by what was believed to be a "state sponsored" hacking group. Over a month ago, a hacker was found to be selling login information related to 200 million Yahoo accounts on the Dark Web , although Yahoo acknowledged that the breach was much worse than initially expected. "A recent investigation by Yahoo! Inc. has confirmed that a copy of certain user account information was stolen from the company's network in late 2014 by what it believes is a state-sponsored actor," reads the statement . Yahoo is investigating the breach with law enforcement agency and currently believes that users' names, email addresses, dates of birth, phone numbers, passwords, and in some cases, encrypted and unencrypted security questions-answers were stolen from millions of Yahoo users. However, the company does not believe

Warning — Bitcoin Users Could Be Targeted by State-Sponsored Hackers

Warning — Bitcoin Users Could Be Targeted by State-Sponsored Hackers
August 19, 2016Mohit Kumar
Another day, another bad news for Bitcoin users. A leading Bitcoin information site is warning users that an upcoming version of the Blockchain consolidation software and Bitcoin wallets could most likely be targeted by "state-sponsored attackers." Recently, one of the world's most popular cryptocurrency exchanges, Bitfinex, suffered a major hack that resulted in a loss of around $72 Million worth of Bitcoins . Now, Bitcoin.org, the website that hosts downloads for Bitcoin Core, posted a message on its website on Wednesday warning users that the next version of the Bitcoin Core wallet, one of the most popular bitcoin wallets used to store bitcoins, might be replaced with a malicious version of the software offered by government-backed hackers. Specifically, Chinese bitcoin users and services are encouraged to be vigilant " due to the origin of the attackers. " Bitcoin.org doesn't believe it has sufficient resources to defend against the attack.

Is Russia Behind the DNC Hack to Help Donald Trump? FBI Initiate an Investigation

Is Russia Behind the DNC Hack to Help Donald Trump? FBI Initiate an Investigation
July 26, 2016Swati Khandelwal
On Friday, just three days prior to the start of the party's national convention, WikiLeaks released almost 20,000 e-mails with more than 8,000 stolen from the US Democratic National Committee (DNC) following a cyber attack in June. Two days later, on Sunday, DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced her resignation and now had no major role on the party's convention stage. Many of the leaked emails indicted that the top DNC officials were actively working against the campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders and strongly favoring Hillary Clinton over Sanders during the primaries, when they were supposed to be neutral. The controversy ruined the start of the DNC's national convention in Philadelphia and forced the Wasserman Schultz to resign. The leak, from January 2015 to May 2016, is believed to be an attempt by the Russian government to influence the presidential election, some U.S. lawmakers and cybersecurity experts say. The leak features DNC staffers debat

Microsoft will Inform You If Government is Spying on You

Microsoft will Inform You If Government is Spying on You
December 31, 2015Swati Khandelwal
Following in the footsteps of Twitter, Facebook and Google, Microsoft promises to notify users of its e-mail ( Outlook ) and cloud storage ( OneDrive ) services if government hackers may have targeted their accounts. The company already notifies users if an unauthorized person tries to access their Outlook or OneDrive accounts. But from now on, the company will also inform if it suspects government-sponsored hackers. Ex-Employee: Microsoft Didn't Notify When China Spied Tibetans Leaders The move could be taken in the wake of the claims made by Microsoft's former employees that several years ago Chinese government hacked into more than a thousand Hotmail email accounts of international leaders of Tibetan and Uighur minorities , but the company decided not to tell the victims, allowing the hackers to continue their campaign. Instead of alerting those leaders of the hacking attempts, Microsoft simply recommended them to change their passwords without disclosi

China — OPM Hack was not State-Sponsored; Blames Chinese Criminal Gangs

China — OPM Hack was not State-Sponsored; Blames Chinese Criminal Gangs
December 03, 2015Mohit Kumar
In the most surprising manner, the Chinese government said it arrested criminal hackers behind the massive cyber attack on US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) earlier this year, dismissing its involvement. Three months back, we reported that China arrested a handful of hackers within its borders who were suspected of allegedly stealing commercial secrets from US companies. The arrests took place shortly before China President Xi Jinping visited the United States in September 2015 when both heads of states agreed that neither side will participate in commercial espionage against one another. China: Cyber Criminals Hacked OPM, Not Government Spies Now, those suspected hackers have turned out to be the ones in connection with the OPM hack that resulted in the theft of personal details of more than 21 Million United States federal employees, including 5.6 Million federal employees' fingerprints . Citing an " investigation ", the Chinese governme

CyberSpace — China arrested Hackers at U.S. Government Request

CyberSpace — China arrested Hackers at U.S. Government Request
October 10, 2015Swati Khandelwal
For the very first time in history, China has arrested hackers within its borders at the request of the United States government. The helping hands of China made me remind of recent Hollywood movie, The Martian , in which China's CNSA helped the United States' NASA to rescue astronaut Mark Watney who was mistakenly presumed dead and left behind on the planet Mars. Although China did not rescue anyone, rather it did arrest, but the point is – China helped the United States. Just two weeks before Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the U.S., the Chinese government took unprecedented step by complying with a United States request and arresting a handful of hackers within its borders, anonymous U.S. officials told the Washington Post. The arrested hackers were suspected of stealing commercial secrets from U.S. firms and then selling or passing on those secrets to Chinese state-run companies. The hackers were part of a wanted list drawn up by the U.S.

Operation Lotus Blossom APT - Elise Malware

Operation Lotus Blossom APT - Elise Malware
August 04, 2015Swati Khandelwal
Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) type attacks continue to emerge on a global scale. What makes these attacks deviate from the norm is often the resources required to develop and implement them: time, money, and the knowledge required to create custom pieces of malware to carry out specific, targeted attacks. Operation Lotus Blossom is one of the more recent APT attacks that has been discovered and analyzed. It is an advanced adversary campaign against the mostly government and state-sponsored entities in the Philippines, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Indonesia. It is thought that this group carried out the attack to gain a geopolitical advantage by stealing specific information from government and military institutions in that area.  At this point, it is still too early to tell if the reach of the attack will extend to the private sector (a la Stuxnet and Duqu). How does the attack work? It was found that Operation Lotus Blossom involved a novel custom-built malware

CASPER Surveillance Malware Linked to French Government

CASPER Surveillance Malware Linked to French Government
March 05, 2015Swati Khandelwal
Last month, cyber security researchers spotted a new strain of french surveillance malware, dubbed " Babar ," which revealed that even French Government and its spying agency the General Directorate for External Security (DGSE) is dedicatedly involved in conducting surveillance operation just like the United States — NSA and United Kingdom — GCHQ . A powerful piece of surveillance malware, known as " Casper ," has recently been discovered by the Canadian security researchers that once again point fingers at the French government. CASPER SURVEILLANCE MALWARE LINKED TO FRANCE The newly discovered sophisticated Casper surveillance malware is believed to be developed by France based hacking group suspected to have ties with the French government, according to the report published by Motherboard . Report suggests that French hacking group have developed ' Swiss Army knife of spying tools ' which has been used by French government to conduct multipl

Spy Agencies Rely on Hackers for Stolen Data and Monitoring Security Experts for Expertise

Spy Agencies Rely on Hackers for Stolen Data and Monitoring Security Experts for Expertise
February 05, 2015Swati Khandelwal
The NSA and GCHQ have tracked and monitored the activities of independent and nation-state hackers, along with some of the foremost security researchers in order to gather information on targets and pilfer the stolen data from hackers' archives, top secret Snowden documents reveal. State-sponsored, individual Blackhat hackers and hacking groups target some or other organizations on an ongoing basis. So, by monitoring the work of 'freelance' and rival state hackers, the NSA and its allies get the stolen information, such as email accounts or chats owned by target of their interest, without doing much of hard work. HACKERS STOLE FROM TARGETS & AGENCIES STOLE FROM HACKERS According to the latest revealed documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden , the hacks and sophisticated breaches on the targets were carried out by the state-sponsored and freelance hackers, but the stolen data, referred to as 'take', was then pilfered by the agencies for
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