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Hacker group that hit Twitter, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft intensifies attacks

Lucian Constantin | July 9, 2015
The group has been stealing confidential information from large companies worldwide for the past three years.

According to Symantec's researchers, the Morpho attackers often target regional offices of their intended victims and then move through their internal networks to access their additional locations and headquarters.

The attackers appear to be well informed about the companies they attack and the information they're searching for.

"In many attacks, the group has succeeded in compromising Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Domino email servers in order to intercept company emails and, possibly use them to send counterfeit emails," the Symantec researchers said in a blog post. "The group has also attacked enterprise content management systems, which would often be home to legal and policy documents, financial records, product descriptions and training documents."

In one case, the attackers compromised a Physical Security Information Management (PSIM) system, gaining access to door locks and CCTV camera feeds.

It's not clear where the group is based. According to Symantec, some, if not all of the group's members are fluent in English, which is evident from the malware's code. However, Kaspersky also found one string in Romanian and one in Russian in the command-and-control procedures.

Peaks of activity were observed on the malware's command-and-control servers that correspond with U.S. typical working hours. This could mean that some attackers are based in the U.S., but could also be because the majority of victims are from the U.S. and Canada, forcing attackers to work during that time interval.

"Morpho is a disciplined, technically capable group with a high level of operational security," the Symantec researchers said. "Having managed to increase its level of activity over the past three years whilst maintaining a low profile, the group poses a threat that ought to be taken seriously by corporations."

 

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