Feeds

Asian political activists whacked in Mac backdoor hack attack

What's up .doc? Oh, too late

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

A security hole in Microsoft Office for Mac OS X is being exploited to hack and spy on Asian activists at odds with the Chinese government.

In the past few days, spear-phishing emails - highly targeted booby-trapped messages - were sent to Apple users in the Uyghur community, which is an ethnic group of people mostly (but not exclusively) living in Eastern and Central Asia. The community has long desired independence from Chinese rule.

The emails contained .doc files that exploit the MS09-027 vulnerability in Microsoft Office for Mac. That security hole allows miscreants to execute malicious code on the victim's unpatched machine if the document is opened.

Ironically, one of the files reports the “rise in possible state-sponsored hacking”. Others bear filenames including "Concerns over Uyghur People", "Uyghur Political Prisoner" and "Deported Uyghurs". If successful, the attack installs a backdoor on the compromised Apple Mac, allowing hackers to remotely control the computer and spy on its user's activities.

Last June, a batch of infected emails sent to Uyghur activists, and intercepted by security researchers at Kaspersky Lab, used a ZIP file containing a JPEG and a Mac OS X app that contained a Trojan. But the latest spear-phishing campaign attempts to exploit a Microsoft Office vulnerability that was fixed more than three years ago.

The latest attacks are explained in much more detail by Kaspersky Lab here and security tools firm AlienVault here.

Similar attacks have been hurled at other politically sensitive ethnic groups, such as the Tibetan people, and human-rights organisations for several years. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Google recommends pronounceable passwords
Super Chrome goes into battle with Mr Mxyzptlk
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
'Speargun' program is fantasy, says cable operator
We just might notice if you cut our cables
Reddit wipes clean leaked celeb nudie pics, tells users to zip it
Now we've had all THAT TRAFFIC, we 'deplore' this theft
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
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.