Report identifies widespread cyber-spying

By Ellen Nakashima, Published: August 2


A leading computer security firm has used logs produced by a single server to trace the hacking of more than 70 corporations and government organizations over many months, and experts familiar with the analysis say the snooping probably originated in China.

Among the targets were the Hong Kong and New York offices of the Associated Press, where unsuspecting reporters working on China issues clicked on infected links in e-mail, the experts said.



Other targets included the networks of the International Olympic Committee, the United Nations secretariat, a U.S. Energy Department lab, and a dozen U.S. defense firms, according to a report to be released Wednesday by McAfee, a security firm that monitors network intrusions around the world.

McAfee said hundreds of other servers have been used by the same adversary, which the company did not identify.

But James A. Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said “the most likely candidate is China.” The target list’s emphasis on Taiwan and on Olympic organizations in the run-up to the Beijing Games in 2008 “points to China” as the perpetrator, he said. “This isn’t the first we’ve seen. This has been going on from China since at least 1998.”

Another computer expert with knowledge of the study, who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of reluctance to blame China publicly, said the intrusions appear to have originated in China.

The intruders were after data on sensitive U.S. military systems, as well as material from satellite communications, electronics, natural gas companies and even bid data from a Florida real estate company, McAfee said. Forty-nine of the 72 compromised organizations were in the United States.

“We’re facing a massive transfer of wealth in the form of intellectual property that is unprecedented in history,” said Dmitri Alperovitch, McAfee’s vice president of threat research. He would not name the private entities targeted, but said McAfee helped half a dozen of them investigate intrusions.

Some of the intrusions — such as one into the World Anti-Doping Agency in Montreal — are continuing, he said. Spokesmen for that organization and for the International Olympic Committee said they were not aware of the intrusions. A U.N. spokesman said technicians analyzing the logs have not seen evidence of stolen data. The Energy Department had no comment.

According to the report, which does not identify the AP by name, the organization’s New York office was targeted in August 2009 in an intrusion that lasted, on and off, for eight months. Its Hong Kong bureau was penetrated at the same time, in an intrusion that continued for 21 months.

AP spokesman Jack Stokes said the company was aware of the report. “We do not comment on network security,” he said.

The Associated Press has been targeted before. A March 2009 report by Canadian researchers about allegations of Chinese espionage against the Tibetan community found that computer systems in AP offices in Hong Kong and Britain had been compromised.

 McAfee had been aware for years of a “command and control” server located in a Western country that was used to control malware deployed on target computers. But the firm just recently discovered that the hackers had made a tradecraft mistake, configuring the server to generate logs that identified every Internet protocol address the server had controlled since 2006.

Google’s disclosure early last year that hackers in China had broken into its networks and stolen valuable source code was a watershed moment: A major U.S. company volunteered that it had been hacked. Google also said that more than 20 other large companies were similarly targeted.

Scott Borg, chief economist at the U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit, a research group, has assessed the annual loss of intellectual property and investment opportunities across all industries at $6 billion to $20 billion, with a big part owing to oil industry losses. These firms spend hundreds of millions of dollars to explore oil fields before bidding on them, Borg said.

One measure of pain came recently when EMC Corp. disclosed that it had taken a $66 million charge to cover remediation costs associated with a March intrusion of its RSA division. That intrusion, which industry experts say appeared to have originated in China, resulted in the compromise of RSA’s SecurID computer tokens that companies and governments worldwide use to log on remotely to workplace systems.

As a result of the compromise, at least a dozen major financial institutions are switching to other vendors, said Gary McGraw, chief technology officer at Cigital, a security firm that works with banks. Stina Ehrensvard, chief executive of YubiKey in Palo Alto, Calif., said at least 25 firms have switched to YubiKey or are testing its token as a result of the RSA breach.

Staff researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/national-security/report-ide...

Views: 41

Comment

You need to be a member of 12160 Social Network to add comments!

Join 12160 Social Network

Latest Activity

jim posted blog posts
13 minutes ago
dogitydog replied to Diana's discussion Transgender Woman Is A ‘Clear Favorite’ To Win The ‘Miss Universe’ Pageant (We Live In A World Where A Little Boy Can Grow Up To Become 'Miss Universe')
"I know someone that actually happened to. 25 years ago!"
20 minutes ago
Tara jackson was featured
20 minutes ago
dogitydog commented on dogitydog's photo
Thumbnail

npc hillary

"@Deep Space You win! That's actually what it is."
29 minutes ago
Tara jackson favorited Tara jackson's profile
31 minutes ago
dogitydog replied to Diana's discussion Turns out that claiming to be a transgender doesn’t excuse you from murdering your own parents
"If he/she/it was 17 in 2016, it would have been at least 18 years old at the time of the murder, meaning that he/she/it did not need parents permission to be a girl. So WTF Andrew/Andrea? No worries now, you can be someone's bitch everyday in…"
34 minutes ago
dogitydog commented on honeygirl's photo
Thumbnail

Stop celebrating a war hero

"You forgot Pedophile and Murderer. Let's give credit where credit is due!"
44 minutes ago
Central Scrutinizer commented on James Roberts's blog post Wisconsin School Board Rules Nazi Salute Kids Are Just Exercising Free Speech
"fak me walking....she was an absolute doll-babes.... hubba hubba... w00t!!"
47 minutes ago
dogitydog replied to Chris of the family Masters's discussion TERRAFORMING has begun: “Global dimming” is a plot to EXTERMINATE humanity by terraforming the atmosphere with SMOG pollution, killing Earth’s food crops and unleashing ecological collapse
"@ cheeki kea Most survival skills generally involve foraging in the wild. But first, we will have to learn how to breathe without oxygen. Problem Reaction Solution. Denial should be added to that dialect. If this wasn't really…"
47 minutes ago
Central Scrutinizer commented on Doc Vega's blog post An Investigative Look At Problems Inside Santa's Work Shop!
"Heard the embedded whistleblower wants to be a dentist.....sssshhhhhh"
52 minutes ago
Deep Space commented on dogitydog's photo
Thumbnail

npc hillary

"Looks more like a demon with permanent marker on its face."
55 minutes ago
Burbia commented on James Roberts's blog post Wisconsin School Board Rules Nazi Salute Kids Are Just Exercising Free Speech
"Idk. Here is a photo of Ursula Haverbeck circa WW II. Go figure, she is recently imprisoned for Holocaust denial at 89 years old."
58 minutes ago
dogitydog commented on dogitydog's photo
Thumbnail

npc hillary

"That's what it looks like when you have no soul."
1 hour ago
dogitydog commented on Central Scrutinizer's video
Thumbnail

Harnett County Deputies Arresting Teen Girls as they Filmed

"No one should ever face persecution for their first amendment rights—especially in the land of the free Once upon a time maybe"
1 hour ago
Less Prone's video was featured

The Terrible Truth About the UN Migration Compact

In December 2018, world leaders gather to sign the UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration - a disaster for Western countries which virtual...
1 hour ago
Deep Space's video was featured

Ex pharma exec gives explosive speech on vaccines before CDC advisory committee

Please like and share and Subscribe to our page to support our mission. This is my friend and colleague, Brandy Vaughan. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/H...
1 hour ago

Please remember this website is supported by your donations...

© 2018   Created by truth.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service

content and site copyright 12160.info 2007-2015 - all rights reserved. unless otherwise noted