Sophisticated Targeted Attack Via Hotel Networks
Kaspersky Labs is reporting (detailed report here, technical details here) on a sophisticated hacker group that is targeting specific individuals around the world. “Darkhotel” is the name the group and its techniques has been given.
This APT precisely drives its campaigns by spear-phishing targets with highly advanced Flash zero-day exploits that effectively evade the latest Windows and Adobe defenses, and yet they also imprecisely spread among large numbers of vague targets with peer-to-peer spreading tactics. Moreover, this crew’s most unusual characteristic is that for several years the Darkhotel APT has maintained a capability to use hotel networks to follow and hit selected targets as they travel around the world. These travelers are often top executives from a variety of industries doing business and outsourcing in the APAC region. Targets have included CEOs, senior vice presidents, sales and marketing directors and top R&D staff. This hotel network intrusion set provides the attackers with precise global scale access to high value targets. From our observations, the highest volume of offensive activity on hotel networks started in August 2010 and continued through 2013, and we are investigating some 2014 hotel network events.
Good article. This seems pretty obviously a nation-state attack. It’s anyone’s guess which country is behind it, though.
Targets in the spear — phishing attacks include high-profile executives — among them a media executive from Asiaas well as government agencies and NGOs and U.S. executives. The primary targets, however, appear to be in North Korea, Japan, and India. “All nuclear nations in Asia,” Raiu notes. “Their targeting is nuclear themed, but they also target the defense industry base in the U.S. and important executives from around the world in all sectors having to do with economic development and investments.” Recently there has been a spike in the attacks against the U.S. defense industry.
We usually infer the attackers from the target list. This one isn’t that helpful. Pakistan? China? South Korea? I’m just guessing.