Shady RAT Gnaws into 70+ Organizations During Past 5 Years

Massive transfer of intellectual property called "unprecedented"

1 min read
Shady RAT Gnaws into 70+ Organizations During Past 5 Years

Hmm, where does this fit on the IEEE Spectrum hacking matrix, and how close does it come to being an organized, state sponsored cyber attack that warrants a retaliatory response?

According to numerous stories in the news media like this one in today's Washington Post, the security firm McAfee has identified "a five year targeted operation by one specific actor" against at least 72 organizations around the world.

The hacking operation, which McAfee calls Operation Shady RAT (for remote access tool), is likely to have stolen petabytes of information from US Federal, state and county government organizations; the Canadian, Indian, Vietnamese, South Korean and Taiwanese governments; the United Nations; 14 international defense contractors; financial and insurance companies; high tech and news media companies; economic trade organizations; think tanks and even the International Olympic Committee, among others. Some 49 out of the 72 organizations compromised were in the US.

Dmitri Alperovitch, McAfee’s vice president of threat research, called the hacking, which he pointed out was only one incident among many,

"... a massive transfer of wealth in the form of intellectual property that is unprecedented in history."

None of the organizations on McAfee's list were from China, which is suspected as being behind the intrusions. A spokesperson at the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC this evening denies that the Chinese government was involved, this Bloomberg News story notes.

I doubt, however, much will come of the McAfee report other than yet another warning to companies, nonprofits, governmental organizations, and so forth to beef up their IT security. Just like after McAfee's Operation Aurora report.

You can read the full McAfee Shady RAT report here (PDF).

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Why the Internet Needs the InterPlanetary File System

Peer-to-peer file sharing would make the Internet far more efficient

12 min read
An illustration of a series
Carl De Torres

When the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in early 2020, the world made an unprecedented shift to remote work. As a precaution, some Internet providers scaled back service levels temporarily, although that probably wasn’t necessary for countries in Asia, Europe, and North America, which were generally able to cope with the surge in demand caused by people teleworking (and binge-watching Netflix). That’s because most of their networks were overprovisioned, with more capacity than they usually need. But in countries without the same level of investment in network infrastructure, the picture was less rosy: Internet service providers (ISPs) in South Africa and Venezuela, for instance, reported significant strain.

But is overprovisioning the only way to ensure resilience? We don’t think so. To understand the alternative approach we’re championing, though, you first need to recall how the Internet works.

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