Feeds

New 'Madi' cyber-espionage campaign targets Iran AND Israel

Attackers 'fluent in Persian', say security sinkholers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Security researchers have discovered a new cyber-espionage campaign targeting victims in the Middle East.

Kaspersky Lab and Seculert identified more than 800 victims located in Iran, Israel, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the course of monitoring control servers associated with cyber/espionage operation over the last eight months.

"Statistics from the sinkhole revealed that the victims were primarily business people working on Iranian and Israeli critical infrastructure projects, Israeli financial institutions, Middle Eastern engineering students, and various government agencies communicating in the Middle East," according to Seculert.

The Madi malware associated with the electronic spying operation is far less sophisticated than the Flame, Duqu and Stuxnet worms associated with previously discovered spying operation in the Middle East, many of which have become associated with operations against Iran's controversial nuclear program. Leaked briefings from the Obama administration suggest both Flame and Stuxnet were joint US/Israeli operations

Madi is a Trojan that allows remote attackers to swipe sensitive files from infected Windows computers, monitor email and instant messages exchanges, record audio, log keystrokes, and take screenshots of victims' activities. in all these respects the malware is similar in capabilities to banking Trojans. Common applications and websites that were spied on include accounts on Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail, ICQ, Skype, Google+, and Facebook. Surveillance also tapped integrated ERP/CRM systems, business contracts, and financial management systems.

Kaspersky Lab and Seculert worked together to sinkhole the Madi Command & Control (C&C) servers and thus monitor the spying operation, which they characterise as "amateurish and rudimentary" in execution.

"While the malware and infrastructure is very basic compared to other similar projects, the Madi attackers have been able to conduct a sustained surveillance operation against high-profile victims," said Nicolas Brulez, a senior malware researcher at Kaspersky Lab. "Perhaps the amateurish and rudimentary approach helped the operation fly under the radar and evade detection."

Aviv Raff, Chief Technology Officer, Seculert, added:

"Interestingly, our joint analysis uncovered a lot of Persian strings littered throughout the malware and the C&C tools, which is unusual to see in malicious code. The attackers were no doubt fluent in this language."

More on the Madi campaign can be found in a post on Seculert's blog (here) and from Kaspersky Lab here. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Google recommends pronounceable passwords
Super Chrome goes into battle with Mr Mxyzptlk
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Reddit wipes clean leaked celeb nudie pics, tells users to zip it
Now we've had all THAT TRAFFIC, we 'deplore' this theft
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
TorrentLocker unpicked: Crypto coding shocker defeats extortionists
Lousy XOR opens door into which victims can shove a foot
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.