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Pakistani cyberespionage efforts maturing from simple hacktivism

Pakistan and India are increasing their cyberespionage abilities as they look to steal data and launch coordinated cyberattacks against rivals

By Michael Hatamoto from Aug 19, 2014 @ 16:54 CDT

Coordinated state-sponsored cyberattacks are nothing new, but it looks like Pakistan wants to evolve from simple hacktivism and mature into official cyberespionage. Recent collaborative research from FireEye and ThreatConnect noted advanced persistent threat (APT) attacks dating back to early 2013, which is more common from organized cyberattackers.

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The Bitterbug malware, for example, uses US virtual private servers and is designed to steal information and send it back to its operator overseas. It appears that a hosting provider in Pakistan leases the ability to operate a command and control server from a U.S. provider.

"Adversaries are masking their exploitation operations behind U.S. infrastructure and targeting U.S> and international victims," said Rich Barger, ThreatConnect Director of Intelligence Research, in a press release. "These adversaries are purporting to be legitimate organizations and abusing unwitting service providers."

Security experts have continually warned of organized cyberattacks from China and Russia, but countries such as India and Pakistan have a large amount of room to grow.

NEWS SOURCES:Darkreading.com, Threatconnect.com

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