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Saturday, 13 December 2014

LARGE-SCALE CYBER ESPIONAGE CAMPAIGN TARGETS RUSSIA

In one of my recent "ARTICLE" I raised my concern on the rise of cyber warfare not only between big countries or companies but also small companies and countries. With the new prediction stating 2015 there will be a big number of cyber espionage – We should expect African continent to be the most affected because of luck of readiness to combat cyber-attacks.

With recent report from Kaspersky Lab, Russian companies in oil, finance, military, and other sectors – as well as the country’s embassies abroad – have become the primary targets of a new espionage campaign, labeled ‘Cloud Atlas’ by global information security powerhouse Kaspersky Lab.

Enterprises in Belarus and Kazakhstan – which are Russia’s partners in the Eurasian Custom Union – are also affected. Another major target of the campaign is India, the Moscow-based company said.

According to Kaspersky Lab, Cloud Atlas infects corporate computers via RTF (Rich Text Format) files attached to emails.

Those behind the campaign have also launched attacks using MMS and SMS messages to infect Android, BlackBerry, and iOS devices.

Kaspersky Lab’s Global Research & Analysis Team believes Cloud Atlas is most likely a successor to the so-called ‘Red October’ espionage campaign.

“Both Red October and Cloud Atlas, according to our data, are focused on the abduction of information from the organizations located in Eastern Europe,” Igor Sumenkov, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, told Sputnik news agency.

"Geographic location and occupation of victims of Cloud Atlas and Red October are similar. Moreover, among the targets of Cloud Atlas there is at least one organization that has been previously attacked by Red October," he explained.

The Red October cyber espionage campaign was discovered by Kaspersky Lab in October 2012 and defeated in January 2013. For five years, the malware stole information from various organizations around the world, mostly in Russia.

The current Cloud Atlas attacks are in no way an indication of weak cyber security in the area, as they only reflect “the particular interests of certain groups of intruders” in Russia and its companies, Sumenkov said.

“Probably, only the authors of this malware campaign know exactly why these organizations and exactly why these territories are targeted," he stressed.

"Judging by the set of malware tools...used by Cloud Atlas, it can be said that this campaign has been developed at least by a group of experienced professionals in creating malicious software. Without a doubt, it gives grounds to consider [the] Cloud Atlas espionage network dangerous,” he added. “Cloud Atlas authors have done a great job preparing to return after Red October was dismantled.”

The name given to the malware by Kaspersky Lab corresponds with the Cloud Atlas novel by David Mitchell, which was turned into a movie by the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer in 2012.

Earlier this week, Kaspersky Lab summed up its work in 2014, announcing that its software prevented over six billion malware attacks on computers and mobile devices around the globe.


The total number of mobile banking Trojan attacks aimed at stealing money from clients has increased by nine times, the company said.