Attacks/Breaches
9/18/2013
11:43 AM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
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
Flash Poll
Current Issue
Cartoon
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-6306
Published: 2014-08-22
Unspecified vulnerability on IBM Power 7 Systems 740 before 740.70 01Ax740_121, 760 before 760.40 Ax760_078, and 770 before 770.30 01Ax770_062 allows local users to gain Service Processor privileges via unknown vectors.

CVE-2014-0232
Published: 2014-08-22
Multiple cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in framework/common/webcommon/includes/messages.ftl in Apache OFBiz 11.04.01 before 11.04.05 and 12.04.01 before 12.04.04 allow remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via unspecified vectors, which are not properly handled in a (1)...

CVE-2014-3525
Published: 2014-08-22
Unspecified vulnerability in Apache Traffic Server 4.2.1.1 and 5.x before 5.0.1 has unknown impact and attack vectors, possibly related to health checks.

CVE-2014-3563
Published: 2014-08-22
Multiple unspecified vulnerabilities in Salt (aka SaltStack) before 2014.1.10 allow local users to have an unspecified impact via vectors related to temporary file creation in (1) seed.py, (2) salt-ssh, or (3) salt-cloud.

CVE-2014-3594
Published: 2014-08-22
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the Host Aggregates interface in OpenStack Dashboard (Horizon) before 2013.2.4, 2014.1 before 2014.1.2, and Juno before Juno-3 allows remote administrators to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via a new host aggregate name.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Three interviews on critical embedded systems and security, recorded at Black Hat 2014 in Las Vegas.