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Group Behind 'Aurora' Attack on Google Still Active 21

New submitter trokez writes "Symantec has monitored the activities of a group using a specific trojan (Hydraq/Aurora) since 2009. The particular group has been connected (by Symantec) to the attack on Gmail in China, but also other high-profile attacks. 'These attackers have used a large number of zero-day exploits against not just the intended target organization, but also on the supply chain manufacturers that service the company in their cross hairs. These attackers are systematic and re-use components of an infrastructure we have termed the "Elderwood Platform." The term "Elderwood" comes from the exploit communication used in some of the attacks. This attack platform enables them to quickly deploy zero-day exploits.' The attacks seems to focus on industry espionage, with the defense industry and its suppliers at the focus."
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Group Behind 'Aurora' Attack on Google Still Active

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...who hacked the gibson?

  • Mysteriously, the attackers left the symbol for lucky dragon behind in all the systems they compromised.
  • RSA Hack (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Yea, we saw this with the RSA hack, basically it's going up the supply chain to exploit suppliers of big companies/the government. In the RSA hack they actually made it look like it was coming from an RSA supplier, and spoofed an email with the THIRD version of an excel spreadsheet that contained a zero day exploit. The Chinese, they're good at this.

  • by ThatsNotPudding ( 1045640 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @06:13PM (#41267819)
    Yes; let's rely on the same folks that can reduce any computer to a glacial, zombified, disk-grinding nightmare.

    Sleep tight.
    • I thought the same thing. Adobe, Symantec, Microsoft write the most hole-riddled, performance hogging, and attack-vector-filled software there is. It comes with the territory-- it's where good software and evil software meet. It fries me that anti-virus software is only marginally less annoying than the viruses they protect us from.
  • The attackers also left a coupon for a complimentary egg roll, good until the end of the month.
  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @06:40PM (#41268087)
    From TFA:

    One of the vectors of infection we're seeing a substantial increase in, called a âoewatering holeâ attack, is a clear shift in the attacking group's method of operations. The concept of the attack is similar to a predator waiting at a watering hole in a desert. The predator knows that victims will eventually have to come to the watering hole, so rather than go hunting, he waits for his victims to come to him. Similarly, attackers find a Web site that caters to a particular audience, which includes the target the attackers are interested in. Having identified this website, the attackers hack into it using a variety of means.

    All well and good. The good folk at Symantec, a site that definitely caters to an audience of people who would be interested in this particular exploit, then goes on to link to their research paper:

    We have published a research paper [] that details the links between various exploits used by this attacking group, their method of targeting organizations, and the Elderwood Platform. It puts into perspective the continuing evolution and sheer resilience of entities behind targeted attacks.

    That's right. The link to the research paper is, presumably by order of some marketroid who wants to get some metrics about this high-profile story (or are they?) is a goddamn link redirector that goes directly to a PDF, and can be expected to spawn precisely one of the sorts of vectors that the attackers have been exploiting for years.

    Peter Norton is still alive, but if he weren't, he'd be rolling in his grave. As it stands, he's merely rolling in a big pile of money.

  • by dgharmon ( 2564621 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @06:44PM (#41268127) Homepage
    "The PDF file attached to the email exploits the Adobe Reader 'CoolType.dll' TTF Font Remote Code Execution Vulnerability (BID 43057). It uses a technique known as return-oriented programming (ROP) to bypass Data Execution Prevention (DEP), using code in the icucnv36.dll [] module."
  • Naming a particular exploit instead of assigning it a number like ExTrojA.1234 is like trying to name a particular day for something. Like having all the days of the year with names like "Hot air balloon to work day", "Stop light appreciation day", or "Mother's muffins day". We are already doing this and the attack against Google was bigger but attacks like this are occurring on a daily basis. BTW was the term "Elderwood platform" a poor Chinese translation that was translated back to mean the "Microsoft Wi
    • Viruses and attack vectors are changing every day and it is a cat and mouse game.
    • by TheCarp ( 96830 )

      Of course, the name is the only reason I checked out the comments, as I have been looking to grow some elder trees in my yard, and the berries are currently in season (mmmm). Of course, trying to get some from my pagan friends turned out to be too much hassle (important tree, need some rituals or some such).... so we just ordered some seeds, got them yesterday actually.

      Well the thing is names make it easier to distinguish and actually talk about them. If I compared ExTrojA.1234 with CERT-2001-19 you probabl

  • Let's just hope they don't steal the secrets to milliliter wave scanners!

    Nobody would be safe if terrorists had such power under their control!

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell