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Latest IE flaw being actively exploited

Coordinated leet attackers smell like China's infamous APT1

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AusCERT April's Internet Explorer flaw is being exploited, with at least two listed Australian entities targeted by a sophisticated foreign hacking outfit.

The organisations were targeted in a campaign that foisted the Internet Explorer exploits (MS14-021) at high end corporations three days after the dangerous flaws were exposed.

Security firm FireEye reported the attacks to El Reg and said the perps were part of a well-resourced and organised group in which the use of zero day exploits was delegated by what it (called a quartermaster (pdf)) to teams of various skill sets and objectives.

"This group was known to introduce zero days, and was the higher-end in top level [attack groups],"FireEye engineering manager Rich Costanzo said.

"The Australian organisations were targeted by a section of the group called 'team b'. that was less concerned with being identified by researchers and less meticulous in altering its attack techniques."

Microsoft issued an emergency unscheduled patch when the attacks were revealed earlier this month, even deciding Windows XP deserved one last patch.

Costanzo hinted the group, which may be the infamous Beijing-backed APT1 outfit revealed by FireEye subsidiary Mandiant, was state-sponsored and contained an advanced team (Team A) which regularly changed its hacking tactics and command and control servers to avoid detection.

The news came on the heels of a separate FireEye report ((PDF)) which revealed Iranian defacer outfit Ajax Security Team had upped its game to begin writing malware to target defence companies in that country and across the United States. ®

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