Newsletters
News & Information for Technology Purchasers 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 Enterprise I.T. Cloud Computing Applications Hardware More Topics...
Mobile Tech
DDoS Protection Powered By Verisign
Average Rating:
Rate this article:  
Kaspersky Lab Outs 'The Mask' Cyber-Spy Attacks

Kaspersky Lab Outs 'The Mask' Cyber-Spy Attacks
By Jennifer LeClaire

Share
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Share on Google Plus

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:



Salesforce.com is the market and technology leader in Software-as-a-Service. Its award-winning CRM solution helps 82,400 customers worldwide manage and share business information over the Internet. Experience CRM success. Click here for a FREE 30-day trial.


 Mobile Tech
1.   Apple Stock Soars Ahead of iPhone 6
2.   HTC One M8 Windows Phone Unveiled
3.   Verizon Tops in Mobile Networks
4.   Sprint Out with Data Guns Blazing
5.   Best Buy Leaks Moto 360 Watch Info


advertisement
HTC One M8 Windows Phone Unveiled
Can be POS device for small business.
Average Rating:
Android 'Fake ID' Puts Millions at Risk
Users: stick to apps from Google Play.
Average Rating:
Researchers Tout Battery Breakthrough
Lithium anode could triple capacity.
Average Rating:
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
Cost of Target Data Breach: $148 Million Plus Loss of Trust
The now infamous Target data breach is still costing the company -- and its shareholders -- plenty. In fact, the retailing giant forecast the December 2013 incident cost shareholders $148 million.
 
Aruba Networks Handles Black Hat with Aplomb
It's not an easy job. Aruba Networks' task throughout the Black Hat USA conference in Las Vegas this month was to ensure thousands of attendees could connect without malicious attacks.
 
Chinese Hackers Nab Info on Millions of U.S. Patients
A group of Chinese hackers has stolen the personal information, including names and Social Security numbers, of about 4.5 million patients at hospitals operated by Community Health Systems.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
Three New Lenovo PCs Aimed at Business Users
Businesses everywhere want computing solutions that do more for less money, and Lenovo has unveiled three new desktop PCs that offer solid computing at a budget-minded price.
 
Aruba Networks Handles Black Hat with Aplomb
It's not an easy job. Aruba Networks' task throughout the Black Hat USA conference in Las Vegas this month was to ensure thousands of attendees could connect without malicious attacks.
 
Compression, Deduplication Come to Violin Concerto 2200
Violin Memory has announced that data deduplication and compression capabilities are now available on its Concerto 2200 solution. Typically, users will experience deduplication rates between 6:1 and 10:1.
 

Mobile Technology Spotlight
Apple Stock Soars Ahead of iPhone 6 Launch
The imminent release of the iPhone 6 -- and maybe even an iWatch -- has sent Apple's stock soaring to new heights. Considering what else the firm could have up its sleeve -- the stratosphere may be the limit.
 
HTC Debuts Windows Phone Version of One M8 Smartphone
HTC is bringing the Windows Phone mobile OS to its flagship One M8 device -- the first time any mainstream flagship smartphone has been offered with a choice of operating systems.
 
Verizon Earns Top Rating in Mobile Network Comparison
A new report says Verizon Wireless was the top-performing U.S. cellphone service provider in the first half of 2014, on a nationwide and state-by-state basis, as well as in metro areas.
 

Navigation
NewsFactor Network
Home/Top News | Enterprise I.T. | Cloud Computing | Applications | Hardware | Mobile Tech | Big Data | Communications
World Wide Web | Network Security | Data Storage | CRM Systems | Microsoft/Windows | Apple/Mac | Linux/Open Source | Personal Tech
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.