Attacks/Breaches
9/18/2013
11:43 AM
50%
50%

Chinese "Hidden Lynx" Hackers Launch Widespread APT Attacks

Symantec says advanced persistent attack operators are tied to hundreds of cyber break-ins, including Operation Aurora against Google.

The Syrian Electronic Army: 9 Things We Know
(click image for larger view)
The Syrian Electronic Army: 9 Things We Know
Remember Comment Crew, also known as APT1 or the Shanghai Group? They're the Chinese cyber-espionage gang that security firm Mandiant singled out earlier this year for having launched a number of devastating attacks against U.S. businesses and defense contractors.

Well, their efforts have been consistently -- and silently -- trumped by "Hidden Lynx," a different group of "best of breed" advanced persistent threat (APT) attackers who have hacked into the networks of such businesses as Adobe, Bit9, Google Lockheed Martin and RSA, according to a report released Tuesday by security firm Symantec.

"This group has a hunger and drive that surpass other well-known groups such as APT1/Comment Crew," due in no small measure to the group's technical abilities, levels of organization, "sheer resourcefulness" and patience, Symantec's Security Response team said in a related blog post. It said the group's name was drawn from code retrieved from the hackers' command-and-control servers.

[ How secure is the new iPhone? Read Apple Hackers Rate iPhone 5s Security. ]

Like the Comment Crew, Hidden Lynx appears to be operating from China, and employs largely Chinese-built tools and China-based malicious infrastructure. But Symantec said that unlike Comment Crew, this group -- which regularly steals information that would be of value "to both commercial and governmental organizations" -- appears to be a much more "well-resourced and sizeable organization."

"There is no question they're working on behalf of the Chinese government," CrowdStrike CTO Dmitri Alperovitch told The Wall Street Journal. He said the group, which Crowdstrike has been tracking for years -- the firm refers to it as "Aurora Panda" -- might serve as defense contractors for the Chinese government.

According to CrowdStrike, since November 2011, half of the group's targets have been in the United States, 16% in Taiwan and 9% in China.

Hidden Lynx appears to have been active since 2009, and often runs multiple attack campaigns simultaneously. "This group doesn't just limit itself to a handful of targets; instead it targets hundreds of different organizations in many different regions, even concurrently," said Symantec. "Given the breadth and number of targets and regions involved, we infer that this group is most likely a professional hacker-for-hire operation that [is] contracted by clients to provide information. They steal on demand, whatever their clients are interested in, hence the wide variety and range of targets."

Previous
1 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading Tech Digest, Dec. 19, 2014
Software-defined networking can be a net plus for security. The key: Work with the network team to implement gradually, test as you go, and take the opportunity to overhaul your security strategy.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-9676
Published: 2015-02-27
The seg_write_packet function in libavformat/segment.c in ffmpeg 2.1.4 and earlier does not free the correct memory location, which allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service ("invalid memory handler") and possibly execute arbitrary code via a crafted video that triggers a use after free.

CVE-2014-9682
Published: 2015-02-27
The dns-sync module before 0.1.1 for node.js allows context-dependent attackers to execute arbitrary commands via shell metacharacters in the first argument to the resolve API function.

CVE-2015-0655
Published: 2015-02-27
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in Unified Web Interaction Manager in Cisco Unified Web and E-Mail Interaction Manager allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via vectors related to a POST request, aka Bug ID CSCus74184.

CVE-2015-0884
Published: 2015-02-27
Unquoted Windows search path vulnerability in Toshiba Bluetooth Stack for Windows before 9.10.32(T) and Service Station before 2.2.14 allows local users to gain privileges via a Trojan horse application with a name composed of an initial substring of a path that contains a space character.

CVE-2015-0885
Published: 2015-02-27
checkpw 1.02 and earlier allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (infinite loop) via a -- (dash dash) in a username.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
How can security professionals better engage with their peers, both in person and online? In this Dark Reading Radio show, we will talk to leaders at some of the security industry’s professional organizations about how security pros can get more involved – with their colleagues in the same industry, with their peers in other industries, and with the IT security community as a whole.