Newsletters
Customer Relationship Management News NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
This ad will display for the next 20 seconds. Click for more information, or
Home CRM Systems Customer Service Contact Centers Business Intelligence More Topics...
Eliminate costly downtime!
Find out how with Free White Paper
& enter to win a Samsung Galaxy Note

www.apc.com
Network Security
Register for a certification exam.
Average Rating:
Rate this article:  
Kaspersky Lab Outs
Kaspersky Lab Outs 'The Mask' Cyber-Spy Attacks

By Jennifer LeClaire
February 11, 2014 1:09PM

Bookmark and Share
The Mask cyber-espionage campaign relies on spear-phishing e-mails with links to a malicious Web site, according to Kaspersky Lab. An infection can be disastrous for victims because The Mask intercepts all communication channels and collects the most vital information from the victim’s machine, Kaspersky said.
 



“The Mask,” aka Careto, has been outed. Kaspersky Lab has discovered an advanced Spanish-language speaking threat actor that has been involved in global cyber-espionage operations since at least 2007. The Mask comes with a complex toolset, including highly sophisticated malware, a rootkit, bootkit, Mac OS X and Linux versions and possibly versions for Android and Apple iOS.

Kaspersky cited government institutions, diplomatic offices and embassies, energy, oil and gas companies, research organizations and activists as the primary targets. The firm found victims of the attacks in 31 countries, from the Middle East and Europe to Africa and the Americas.

The attackers' goal is to gather sensitive data from the infected systems, such as office documents, encryption keys, VPN configurations, SSH keys (serving as a means of identifying a user to an SSH server) and RDP files (used by the remote desktop client to automatically open a connection to the reserved computer), the firm said.

A Nation-State Sponsored Campaign?

If Kaspersky’s analysis is correct, an infection can be disastrous for victims. Careto intercepts all communication channels and collects the most vital information from the victim’s machine. One thing is certain, the firm said, detection can be difficult because of stealth rootkit capabilities, built-in functionalities and additional cyber-espionage modules.

“Several reasons make us believe this could be a nation-state-sponsored campaign. First of all, we observed a very high degree of professionalism in the operational procedures of the group behind this attack,” said Costin Raiu, director of the Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT) at Kaspersky Lab.

“From infrastructure management, shutdown of the operation, avoiding curious eyes through access rules and using wiping instead of deletion of log files. These combine to put this APT ahead of Duqu in terms of sophistication, making it one of the most advanced threats at the moment. This level of operational security is not normal for cyber-criminal groups,” he said.

Security Analysts Disagree

According to Kaspersky Lab’s analysis report, here’s how it works: The Mask campaign relies on spear-phishing e-mails with links to a malicious Web site. The malicious Web site contains an exploit designed to infect the visitor, depending on system configuration. Upon successful infection, the malicious Web site redirects the user to the benign Web site referenced in the e-mail, which can be a YouTube movie or a news portal.

The exploit Web sites do not automatically infect visitors. Rather, the attackers host the exploits at specific folders on the Web site, which are not directly referenced anywhere, except in malicious e-mails, the firm said. Sometimes, the attackers use subdomains on the exploit Web sites, to make them seem more real. These subdomains simulate subsections of the main newspapers in Spain plus some international ones for instance, The Guardian and The Washington Post.

The malware intercepts all the communication channels and collects the most vital information from the infected system. Detection is extremely difficult because of stealth rootkit capabilities, Kaspersky said.

We asked Chester Wisniewski, a senior security advisor at Sophos, for his take on Mask. He told us while the malware certainly appears to have a sophistication to it that could indicate a nation-state was involved, he would hardly consider this targeted malware.

“Many of the samples were discovered and detected by antivirus for some time,” he said. “It is hard to believe that anyone serious about spying would run an operation this large and expect it to remain a secret.”
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:



UCS Invicta: Integrated Flash Why wait for the future? Unlock the potential of your applications and create new business opportunities today with UCS Invicta Series Solid State Systems. Take advantage of the power of flash technology. See how it can help accelerate IT, eliminate data center bottlenecks, and deliver the peak application performance and predictability your users demand. Click here to learn more.


 Network Security
1.   Canada Says China Hacked Gov't
2.   Tor Working To Fix Security Exploit
3.   Wall Street Journal Hacked Again
4.   Dropbox for Business Boosts Security
5.   Hackers Breached StubHub Accounts


advertisement
Tor Working To Fix Security Exploit
Bug reportedly reveals ID of users
Average Rating:
New Technology Defeats Privacy Efforts
Study identifies 3 browser techniques.
Average Rating:
Banks Hit by Android-Skirting Malware
34 institutions, four European countries
Average Rating:
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
Canadian Government Charges China With Cyberattack
The government of Canada is not happy with China. Canadian officials have accused "a highly sophisticated Chinese state-sponsored actor" of launching a cyberattack on its National Research Council.
 
Researchers Working To Fix Tor Security Exploit
Developers for the Tor privacy browser are scrambling to fix a bug revealed Monday that researchers say could allow hackers, or government surveillance agencies, to track users online.
 
Wall Street Journal Hacked Again
Hacked again. That’s the story at the Wall Street Journal this week as the newspaper reports that the computer systems housing some of its news graphics were breached. Customers not affected -- yet.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
Apple Updates MacBook Pros, Cuts Prices Up to $100
The popular MacBook Pro laptop line just got an update and a price cut of as much as $100. The MacBook Pro with Retina display now includes faster processors and double the memory.
 
Watson Gets His First Customer Service Gig
Since appearing on Jeopardy, IBM's Watson supercomputer has been making a living using his super-intelligent knowledge base for business verticals. Now, Watson's been hired for his first customer service job.
 
Tablet Giants Apple and Samsung Feel the Heat
When a company saturates its home market with a once-hot product, expect it to pump up efforts elsewhere. Apple, for its part, is now pushing iPads to big corporations and the enterprise market.
 

Mobile Technology Spotlight
Android 'Fake ID' Puts Millions of Users at Risk
Having this fake ID is nothing to brag about, even if you are a minor. The “Fake ID” Android flaw drops malware into smartphone apps. It can steal credit card data and even take over your device.
 
FTC Wants Fix for 'Perfect Scam' of Mobile Cramming
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has issued new guidelines to curb “mobile cramming,” a troublesome practice that adds unauthorized third-party charges to mobile phone bills.
 
Facebook: You Will Use Messenger, and You Will Like It
Starting this week, Facebook users with Android and iOS phones will be forced to use the separate Messenger app to send Facebook messages. Pending messages will still be visible in the main app.
 

Navigation
CRM Daily
Home/Top News | CRM Systems | Customer Service | Contact Centers | Business Intelligence | Sales & Marketing | Customer Data | CRM Press Releases
NewsFactor Network Enterprise I.T. Sites
NewsFactor Technology News | Enterprise Security Today | CRM Daily

NewsFactor Business and Innovation Sites
Sci-Tech Today | NewsFactor Business Report

NewsFactor Services
FreeNewsFeed | Free Newsletters

About NewsFactor Network | How To Contact Us | Article Reprints | Careers @ NewsFactor | Services for PR Pros | Top Tech Wire | How To Advertise

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
© Copyright 2000-2014 NewsFactor Network. All rights reserved. Article rating technology by Blogowogo. Member of Accuserve Ad Network.