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"This implementation of a two-piece Trojan horse is state of the art. Not only does it allow the attackers to quietly perform the exfiltration of military secrets, it also wipes evidence based on the detection of its presence," Chin said. "If a computer not connected to the Internet is the protection system for classified military secrets, then people must think... How does the data get to this computer to begin with? It is very likely the machine is connected to some kind of internal network and it's pretty obvious the attackers know of an attack path on the inside."
Casting a Wide Net
We turned to Chester Wisniewski, senior security advisor at Sophos, to get his take on McAfee's report. Although he hasn't seen or analyzed the malware in question, he told us it's encouraging to see the South Korean's response, especially the segregation of networks and the 'don't panic!' attitude.
"Malware that looks for certain conditions, whether that be keywords contained in documents or actions being taken by security solutions, is nothing new. Infecting a public social networking site to distribute super-secret government spyware seems more than a touch unlikely as well," Wisniewski said.
"Successful intelligence operations must cast a wide net as we have seen in the NSA dragnet drama. While this could certainly be an intelligence gathering exercise, I think I agree with the South Korean government. Stand down from red alert."