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North Korean-backed ‘Sharpshooter’ Cyber Attacks Still on, Says McAfee Report

Previous attacks focused on telecommunications, government and financial sectors, primarily in the US, Switzerland, Israel and others

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Logo of McAfee
Logo of McAfee. Flickr

A global cyber espionage campaign, known as Operation Sharpshooter, started a year earlier than previously thought and is still ongoing, say security researchers, adding that a group linked to North Korea could be behind the campaign.

The findings were revealed after researchers at US-headquartered global cybersecurity firm McAfee got a rare opportunity to examine the code and data from a command-and-control server responsible for the management of the operations, tools and tradecraft behind this global cyber espionage campaign.

McAfee on Sunday said the command-and-control server code was provided by a government entity.

“Access to the adversary’s command-and-control server code is a rare opportunity. These systems provide insights into the inner workings of cyberattack infrastructure, are typically seized by law enforcement, and only rarely made available to private sector researchers,” Christiaan Beek, McAfee Senior Principal Engineer and Lead Scientist, said in a statement.

McAfee first uncovered Operation Sharpshooter in December 2018.

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The new analysis suggests that the campaign began as early as September 2017 — approximately a year earlier than previously evidenced — and is still ongoing.

Analysis of the new evidence has exposed striking similarities between the techniques used in the Sharpshooter attacks and aspects of multiple other groups of attacks attributed by the industry to the Lazarus Group, McAfee said.

The Lazarus Group is linked to North Korea which was blamed for the 2016 Sony hack and the WannaCry ransomware outbreak in 2017 among other attacks on global businesses.

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The Sharpshooter attacks appear to now focus primarily on financial services, government and critical infrastructure,McAfee said, adding that the largest number of recent attacks primarily target Germany, Turkey, Britain and the US.

Previous attacks focused on telecommunications, government and financial sectors, primarily in the US, Switzerland, Israel and others, it added. (IANS)

Next Story

McAfee Announces Acquisition of Cloud Security Startup NanoSec for An Undisclosed Sum

The acquisition of NanoSec will strengthen the container security capabilities of McAfee MVISION Cloud and MVISION Server Protection products

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McAfee, Cloud, Security
Founded by Chief Executive Officer Vishwas Manral in 2015, NanoSec has its offices in Bengaluru and California. Pixabay

Global cyber security firm McAfee on Friday announced the acquisition of cloud security startup NanoSec for an undisclosed sum.

Founded by Chief Executive Officer Vishwas Manral in 2015, NanoSec has its offices in Bengaluru and California.

The acquisition of NanoSec will strengthen the container security capabilities of McAfee MVISION Cloud and MVISION Server Protection products, giving its customers the ability to speed up application delivery while enhancing governance, compliance and security of their hybrid, multi-cloud deployments, McAfee said.

NanoSec’s security capabilities will be applied to applications and workloads deployed in containers and Kubernetes and will be integrated into McAfee MVISION Cloud and MVISION Server Protection offerings.

McAfee, Cloud, Security
Global cyber security firm McAfee on Friday announced the acquisition of cloud security startup NanoSec for an undisclosed sum. Pixabay

These capabilities include continuous configuration compliance and vulnerability assessment as well as runtime application-level segmentation for detecting and preventing lateral movement of threats.

“NanoSec’s team brings a wealth of experience to McAfee, and together we are committed to enabling organizations to reach their full cloud potential,” said Rajiv Gupta, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the cloud security business unit, McAfee.

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“Joining forces with McAfee means that our groundbreaking capabilities including our unique application-identity based approach for app-level protection and micro-segmentation will be available on a global scale,” said Vishwas Manral, founder and CEO of NanoSec.  (IANS)