Monday, June 20, 2005

Britain under targeted attack

#86 This is something that is likely to have some governements nervous. It would appear that advances in hacking technology are allowing mass scale theft of confidential information from governments in addition to the corporate sector we seem to spend most of our time talking about. A well-organized group of hackers has engaged in an "large scale industrial" attack designed to cull commercially and economically valuable data from vital computer networks across Britain, the government warned today.

The U.K.'s National Infrastructure Security Co-Ordination Center yesterday released a report (PDF format) disclosing that more than 300 government departments and businesses were targeted by a continuing series of e-mail attacks designed to covertly gather sensitive and economically valuable information (see story). The attacks are from Asia. "We have never seen anything like this in terms of the industrial scale of this series of attacks," NISCC Director Roger Cumming said. "This is not a few hackers sitting in their bedroom trying to steal bank account details from individuals."
Unlike with phishing and mass-mailing worms, the attackers appear to be going after specific individuals who have access to commercially or economically privileged information. The attacks involved the use of e-mails containing so-called Trojan programs or links to Web sites containing Trojan files. Once installed on a user's system, Trojans covertly run in the background and perform a variety of functions, including collecting usernames, passwords and system information; scanning of drives; and uploading of documents and data to remote computers.
Another interesting link to this story is here.
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