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Global phone networks attacked by hackers

2019-06-25 17:01 by
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According to an Israeli-U.S. cybersecurity firm Cybereason, hackers have broken into the systems of more than a dozen global cellular carriers and taken large amounts of personal and corporate data. The attackers compromised companies in more than 30 countries and aimed to gather information on individuals in government, law-enforcement and politics. Albeit unconfirmed, both the targeted individuals and the hackers are believed to link to China.

The alleged attack, code-named Operation Soft Cell took place over the past seven years to obtain massive amounts of call records — including times and dates of calls, and their cell-based locations. While they were able to disrupt network signals, the hackers were more focused on espionage than disruption, Cybereason found.

"The advanced, persistent attack targeting telecommunications providers," the company said, "has been active since at least 2017... The threat actor was attempting to steal all data stored in the active directory, compromising every single username and password in the organization, along with other personally identifiable information, billing data, call detail records, credentials, email servers, geo-location of users, and more."

The alleged attack comes as the U.S. blacklists major Chinese technology companies over suspicions they help the government spy. Cybersecurity researchers have accused hackers of being affiliated with Beijing in the past and the Cybereason report published Tuesday pointed out similarities to previous attacks by APT10, a unit it said operated on behalf of a Chinese government ministry.

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