Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Fresh Hacker Assault on Unnamed Think Tank

Here is what is being reported on Raw Story via Agence France-Presse:
The hackers who penetrated the computer network of The New York Times last year have resurfaced with an attack on “an organization involved in shaping economic policy,” experts warned Monday.
The security firm FireEye said the original perpetrators “appear to be mounting fresh assaults that leverage new and improved versions of malware.”
FireEye said it had detected “a retooling of what security researchers believe is a massive spying operation based in China.”
“The new campaigns mark the first significant stirrings from the group since it went silent in January in the wake of a detailed expose of the group and its exploits,” FireEye researchers Ned Moran and Nart Villeneuve said in a blog post.
FireEye said its researchers “spotted the malware when analyzing a recent attempted attack on an organization involved in shaping economic policy.”
The name of the organization was not disclosed.

Here is a link to the FireEye blog post that is referenced in the story.  It gives fairly detailed information about the new cyber attacks.

"An organization involved in shaping economic policy" describes any number of think tanks, such as the Brookings Institution, Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE), and the Center for American Progress (CAP), to name a few.

Of course, hacker attacks on think tanks is nothing new.  Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post on think tanks being targeted by Chinese cyber spies.  Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post detailing a hack attack against the Aspen Institute.  Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post noting that China's 100,000 person cyber army has shifted its focus to think tanks.