Hackers steal data from telecoms: cyber firm
Published: 04:29 PM, 27 June 2019 Updated: 04:50 PM, 27 June 2019
An Israeli-U.S. cyber firm Cybereason said on Tuesday that hackers broke into the systems of more than a dozen global telecom firms and stole huge amounts of data in a seven-year spying campaign.
The investigators of the firm identifying links to previous Chinese cyber-espionage activities, reports Reuters.
According to Cybereason investigators, the attackers compromised companies in more than 30 countries and aimed to gather information on individuals in government, law enforcement, and politics.
Lior Div, chief executive of Cybereason said that the hackers also used tools linked to other attacks attributed to Beijing by the United States and its Western allies.
“For this level of sophistication, it’s not a criminal group. It is a government that has capabilities that can do this kind of attack,” he said.
Later, Div presented a step-by-step breakdown of the breach at a cybersecurity conference in Tel Aviv where the heads of U.S. and British cyber intelligence units and the head of Israel’s Mossad spy agency spoke.
“Right now we’re still tracking them,” he said. “On Saturday, we debriefed more than 25 different telcos, the biggest telcos in the world.”
A spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry said he was not aware of the report, but added: “we would never allow anyone to engage in such activities on Chinese soil or using Chinese infrastructure.”
Cybereason declined to name the companies affected or the countries they operate in, but people familiar with Chinese hacking operations said Beijing was increasingly targeting telcos in Western Europe.
A spokesman for Deutsche Telekom, Europe’s biggest telco, said his company was not in contact with Cybereason prior to publication of the report.
This latest campaign, which his team uncovered over the last nine months, compromised the internal IT network of some of those targeted, allowing the attackers to customize the infrastructure and steal vast amounts of data, Div said.
“They built a perfect espionage environment,” said Div, a former commander in Israel’s military intelligence unit 8200. “They could grab information as they please on the targets that they are interested in.”
According to Cybereason, multiple tools used by the attackers had previously been used by a Chinese hacking group known as APT10.
“This time as opposed to in the past we are sure enough to say that the attack originated in China,” Cybereason said.
“We managed to find not just one piece of software, we managed to find more than five different tools that this specific group used,” Cybereason chief executive Lior Div added.
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