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NYT crackers get busy again, claims vendor

'APT 12' back in action

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Security vendor FireEye believes it's spotted signs that the attackers who breached the New York Times' network last year are busy again – and that they've improved the malware they're using.

The vendor says the group, dubbed APT 12, has revised the Aumlib and "lxeshe" malware in the time between January and now. January was when the NYT first went public about the attacks. FireEye says its researchers found the new versions while analysing a client attack.

“The previous versions of Aumlib had not changed since at least May 2011, and Ixeshe had not evolved since at least December 2011,” FireEye claims.

Aumlib, the post says, has had its attack – a POST command – altered to change the URI and to encode the POST body, in an attempt to evade signature-based IDS.

The Backdoor.APT.Ixeshe, used in attacks since 2009, has also been altered to try and change its signature. But it's gained another characteristic in line with the increasing sophistication of attacks: a “campaign” marker so the “threat actors”* can keep track of the success and failure of different attacks. ®

Bootnote: *"Threat actor": the kind of language that's invading IT security discussions, now that military intelligence is trying to claim it security as its own. And we all know how well that's working out. ®

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