“Next leads to Russia”: Russian hackers accused of hacking NATO systems

    “I’m more worried about the Russians,” US National Intelligence Director James Klapper said recently at a forum at the University of Texas, speaking of cyber attacks by Chinese hackers. A large article with such a leitmotif and catchy headline “The Hacker Trail Leads to Russia” was published today by The Wall Street Journal. Perhaps the Chinese are engaged in cyber espionage more often, but Russia is more effective, says Klapper.

    The reason for the article was a recent investigation by a leading Silicon Valley company FireEye Inc of hacking into a computer system by an unnamed American company, whose activities are closed with the top secret stamp.

    Experts found there, according to them, a “powerful cyber weapon” that can hit computers on internal networks, moving from one to another without any Internet. At the same time, it is very difficult to detect, since the stolen data is well disguised as the mail traffic of the next victim. Moreover, the code of the spy tool was written, according to FireEye, on Russian-language machines and “during business hours Moscow time”.

    The verdict of the FireEye report following the results of the investigation is unequivocal: cyber espionage was planned by government agencies in Moscow.

    The report was one of four recent studies by various computer security firms, including those owned by Google and the U.S. intelligence agency, which point to Russian sponsorship of the largest cyber attacks that have occurred since 2007. Their goals were, in particular, the governments of neighboring countries of Russia, the largest contractors of the US defense industry, such as Science Applications International Corp and Academi LLC, the state-owned information security firm Blackwater and NATO structures.

    According to The Wall Street Journal, all these facts speak only about one thing - “team A” of Internet opponents is controlled by Moscow.

    The head of American intelligence noted that it is difficult to identify hackers' criminal or state affiliation, since the authorities use tools created by criminal groups, and vice versa, criminal hackers have in their arsenal the experience of special cyber units. For example, it is still not clear who is behind the sensational infiltration into the secret U.S. military system in 2008, criminals or spy hackers, since both are using the discovered surveillance tool.

    US National Intelligence Director James Klapper

    Meanwhile, FireEye experts and the military verified their data and concluded that they were hunting the same group, whose main tool for espionage was codenamed “Sofacy”.

    Other studies also show the “handwriting” of the same group, although Google’s 41-page report submitted directly to Russia’s Department of Homeland Security last month does not blame Russia for espionage, ignoring the wording of a “government-run group.” However, it also notes that the computers on which the “cyber weapon” was created were Russified.

    Material written at the request of VCStart.com

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