How Russian Hackers Tricked US Contractors into Exposing Drone Secrets

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Russian hackers had been able trick an impressive Forty percent of 87 American “key” defense contractors into clicking on fake, malicious links sent to them via email. This exposure might have then potentially generated the theft of classified information, a fresh investigation by?the Associated Press has revealed. The report points too Russian hackers “clearly exploited a national vulnerability in cybersecurity: poorly protected email and barely any direct notification to victims”.

However, what actually was stolen – contrary was – remains unclear. The attackers behind this campaign against defense contractors are part of the notorious Russian hacking group named Fancy Bear, APT28,?STRONTIUM, and?Tsar Team. The team is considered inside cybersecurity niche for being linked?the Russian military intelligence agency, GRU.

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The group is popular for constantly trying to target government and military personnel in the nation and it has been linked to the attacks for the Democratic National Committee before the 2016 US elections. However, the modern investigation won’t surprise anyone following a cybersecurity stories up to now two years since the two US plus the Russian agencies are normally hunting for vulnerabilities and backdoors to focus on critical systems and/or government personnel.

No, it’s not merely “stupid” individuals who are seduced by phishing attacks regardless of many want to believe

While it’s turned into a common practice for security agencies to concentrate on one another, what may surprise many may be the ease in which defense contractors were fooled. The uproar before, during after the 2016 US Presidential election with regards to the absence of proper security practices along at the government and military level may have led to some change.?However, this particular investigation focuses on attacks that happened until May 2016 and reveals an astounding volume of workers used in highly sensitive organizations fell with regard to phishing tricks.

The AP identified the defense and security targets from about 19,000 lines of email phishing data created by hackers and picked up by way of the U.S.-based cybersecurity company Secureworks, which calls the hackers Iron Twilight. The knowledge is partial and extends only from March 2015 to May 2016. Of 87 scientists, engineers, managers as well as others, 31 consented to be interviewed with the AP.

Most from the targets’ work was classified. Yet up to a whopping 40 percent analysts visited the hackers’ phishing links, the AP analysis indicates. That had been step one in potentially opening their personal email accounts or computer files to data theft with the digital spies.

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It appears that even those being employed by sensitive organizations continue to fall for social engineering campaigns that a great many in the tech industry choose to believe is able to trick common users.

“I clicked on it and instantly knew which ended up had,” one retired Air Force major general said about a email that looks like a Google security alert but was really sent because of the Russian hackers. In cases like this, the General realized his mistake before entering his credentials, saving any exposure.

Russian hackers focused on people implementing militarized drones, missiles…

This particular campaign by Fancy Bear centered on people taking care of?militarized drones, missiles, rockets, stealth fighter jets, cloud-computing platforms, along with other sensitive activities. AP reports why these targeted 87 citizens were working at “both small companies and defense giants like Lockheed Martin Corp., Raytheon Co., Boeing Co., Airbus Group and General Atomics,” even though also helped trade groups or were on?corporate boards.

“The programs that they can manage to target plus the people that focus on those programs include the most forward-leaning, advanced technologies,” Charles Sowell, an old senior adviser to your US Office with the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) including a target of the campaign, told the publication.

“Of course, if those programs are compromised in the slightest, then our competitive advantage and our defense is compromised.

That’s what’s really scary”

AP report shows that the Russian cyberspies seemed to be specifically keen on stealing drone technology, adding that “Russia has nothing that compares using the new-generation U.S. Reaper, which is called ‘quite possibly the most feared’ US drone”. Leading to this fear, drone consultant Keven Gambold who was simply another target of your campaign revealed that the espionage could help Russia catch up with the Americans. “This would allow them leapfrog numerous years of hard-won experience.”

It is unclear if the particular hacking and espionage campaign helped the Kremlin, though the same report claims the country has been making some significant advancements in the market, using the Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin boasting in 2017 how the?technological gap between Russia as well as the US “has been sharply reduced and completely eliminated inside the near future”.

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