Feeds

Space boffins, oil giants, nuke plants 'raided' by MYSTERY code nasty

Spain, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, China, this malware has had quite a trip, we're told

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

A piece of government-bothering malware called NetTraveler has been active since 2004 - and targets agencies and organisations involved in space exploration, nanotechnology, nuclear power, lasers, medicine, communications and more.

And that's according to researchers at security biz Kaspersky Lab.

More than 350 high-profile outfits in 40 countries have been hit by strains of NetTraveler, we're told. Embassies, oil and gas corporations, research institutes, military contractors and activists have been compromised by the software nasty over the years, it is claimed.

Attackers wielding the Windows malware typically infiltrated their targets with a combination of spear-phishing emails and booby-trapped Microsoft Office documents that exploit software vulnerabilities, specifically CVE-2012-0158 and CVE-2010-3333.

Updates to fix the security bugs were available from Microsoft at the time of the attacks, so delayed or incompetent patch rollouts were a big contributing factor in the spread of NetTraveler.

Researchers at Kaspersky Lab obtained and analysed logs of infections from several of the malware's central command-and-control servers, which remotely control the thing once it is installed on a machine. The files showed that data was harvested from the compromised computers.

The top 10 targeted countries were an odd mix: Mongolia came top of the table, followed by Russia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Tajikistan, South Korea, Spain and Germany. It is worth noting that the Chinese military has a large training area located in Inner Mongolia, where it practises cyber-warfare techniques.

Six victims were infected by both NetTraveler and Red October, another cyberespionage operation uncovered by Kaspersky Labs. However, no direct links between the NetTraveler attackers and the Red October miscreants was unearthed. More details on NetTraveler can be found in a blog post by threat researchers Securelist. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
UK smart meters arrive in 2020. Hackers have ALREADY found a flaw
Energy summit bods warned of free energy bonanza
DRUPAL-OPCALYPSE! Devs say best assume your CMS is owned
SQLi hole was hit hard, fast, and before most admins knew it needed patching
Knock Knock tool makes a joke of Mac AV
Yes, we know Macs 'don't get viruses', but when they do this code'll spot 'em
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
Mozilla releases geolocating WiFi sniffer for Android
As if the civilians who never change access point passwords will ever opt out of this one
Why weasel words might not work for Whisper
CEO suspends editor but privacy questions remain
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
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?
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management
How using vulnerability assessments to identify exploitable weaknesses and take corrective action can reduce the risk of hackers finding your site and attacking it.