Feeds

Oil and gas giants' PCs polluted by new cyber-spy Trojan

Advanced Persistent Threat 'Mirage' group is back

Seven Steps to Software Security

Hackers bent on espionage have infiltrated a large oil company in the Philippines, an energy biz in Canada and a military organisation in Taiwan among others, claim researchers.

The crooks also targeted other as yet unidentified businesses in Brazil, Israel, Egypt and Nigeria, according to the preliminary results of a probe by Dell SecureWorks. The researchers have been tracking the hackers' so-called Mirage campaign for about five months since April.

Secureworks reckons the group behind these latest attempts to obtain company secrets are the same miscreants who launched attacks against a Vietnamese petroleum firm and others in February in the so-called Sin Digoo affair. Email addresses linked to command servers associated with the Mirage campaign also emerged in the Sin Digoo op.

"This indicates that either the actors behind both the Sin Digoo Affair and Mirage APT [Advanced Persistent Threat] campaigns are the same person, or they are working within the same hacker group," the Dell SecureWorks team concluded in a report.

One of the people behind the Sin Digoo campaign previously ran a blackhat search engine optimisation business, which uses shady techniques to boost clients' websites up search rankings. And the malware used to infect corporate machines in the Mirage espionage disguises its connections to the hackers' server as harmless Google search queries. It pulls off this trick by crafting HTTP requests that look like typical lookup requests to Google's search engine frontend. Targeted emails containing booby-trapped attachments are used to push inject the Mirage Trojan onto Microsoft Windows PCs.

Victims are simply tricked into executing the files, at which point the malicious software installs itself and phones home with the specifications of the infected computer. It is not immediately clear exactly what kind of data is stolen by the spying software. Some variants of the worm include a line from The Matrix: "Neo, welcome to the desert of the real." Another variant includes a lyric from the REM song It's the end of the world as we know it.

The IP addresses of the systems used by hackers to remotely control Mirage-infected machines belong to the China Beijing Province Network (AS4808), as did three of the IP addresses used in the Sin Digoo campaign. "AS4808 is known for many other connections to malware and is considered by some to be a hotbed of espionage C2s [command and control servers]," SecureWorks concludes.

More details on the espionage campaign can be found on the SecureWorks website. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.