Cyberspies love exploits from Hacking Team leak

Advanced hacking group uses a second Flash exploit leaked from the surveillance software maker

Big Data

Big Data

The leaked files from surveillance software maker Hacking Team have proven to be a great resource for cyberespionage groups, which have used at least two Flash Player exploits from the company's arsenal.

Last Tuesday, security researchers from security firm FireEye detected targeted attacks against organizations in Japan, with the attackers using an exploit for CVE-2015-5122, a Flash Player vulnerability patched by Adobe Systems that same day.

The vulnerability was publicly known before that date because an exploit for it was found in the 400GB data cache recently leaked by a hacker from Milan-based Hacking Team.

An unknown hacker broke into the computer network of Hacking Team, a company that sells computer surveillance software and intrusion tools to government agencies worldwide. The attacker released email communications, client lists, files, source code, documentation and previously unknown software exploits.

The group of attackers that targeted the Japanese organizations did so through strategic Web compromises, also known as watering hole attacks. The tactic involves compromising websites that are typically visited by organizations from particular industries.

Two websites compromised in this case belonged to Japan's International Hospitality and Conference Service Association (IHCSA) and Cosmetech, a Japanese cosmetics company.

Once victims visited those websites, malicious scripts loaded the Flash Player exploit. While the FireEye researchers haven't determined with certainty yet how the victims were lured to the compromised websites, phishing emails are a strong candidate. Otherwise, victims were unlikely to land there simply by chance.

It's not clear what group is responsible for the attack, but the malware program installed by the exploit is almost exclusively used by Chinese hacker groups, the FireEye researchers said in a blog post Sunday.

"The Japanese economy's technological innovation and strengths in high-tech and precision goods have attracted the interest of multiple Chinese [advanced persistent threat] groups, who almost certainly view Japanese companies as a rich source of intellectual property and competitive intelligence," they said.

These attacks come after other cyberespionage groups used another Flash Player exploit found among the Hacking Team files that was patched two weeks ago. Those attacks also targeted U.S. government agencies, prompting the FBI to issue an alert.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags patchessecurityFireEyeExploits / vulnerabilitiesmalwareHacking Team

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?