Cyber Espionage – the network threat

Espionage isn’t something new, and neither is cyber espionage. Some of the most sophisticated cyber espionage networks reside in Russia and China. Cyber espionage normally involves stealing secret (and or classified) documents from other nation-state governments, individuals, military establishments, rivals, enemies and businesses.

Cyber warrior units (that are run by nation-states) which are closely tied to private hacker groups are normally responsible for developing cracking techniques to develop sophisticated malware, Trojans, backdoor traps and logic bombs to gain unauthorised access to a foreign network and or server.

Recently, leading security researchers identified and tracked a sophisticated cyber espionage network based in China called Shadow. The Shadow worms systematically snoop through files (looking for secret; restricted or confidential classified documents) stored on the targeted computer. The Shadow worm would then send the harvested data through the web to core servers located in China. The attackers used social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, redundant cloud-based computing systems and Google Groups as the command-and-control infrastructure for the Shadow rollout.

This espionage network targeted computers in several foreign countries including systems belonging to the Indian government and military. The Shadow network (a similar espionage ring to GhostNet from 2009), was found to have compromised the UN, computers systems belonging to the Indian government and the Embassy of Pakistan in the US. Unfortunately, the targeted computers weren’t secure as the data had been moved from a secure environment.

Source of Information : Hakin9 November 2010


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