Menu
Iran-based hackers may be tracking dissidents and activists, Symantec says

Iran-based hackers may be tracking dissidents and activists, Symantec says

The hackers may have had access to "an enormous amount of sensitive information," the security firm says

Hackers based in Iran have been using malware to spy on individuals, including potentially dissidents and activists in the country, according to new research from Symantec.

The attacks aren't particularly sophisticated, but the hackers have had access to their targets' computers for more than a year, Symantec said, which means they may have gained access to "an enormous amount of sensitive information."

Two groups of hackers, named Cadelle and Chafer, distributed malware that steals information from PCs and servers, including from airlines and telcos in the region, Symantec said.

The groups have been operating since at least mid-2014, but Symantec said registration details for command-and-control servers indicate they may have been running since 2011.

Cadelle uses a piece of malware called backdoor.cadellespy, and Chafer uses one that Symantec calls backdoor.remexi.

It's unclear how Cadelle distributes the malware, but there's evidence that Chafer uses SQL injection attacks to compromise web servers. Such an attack can allow a hacker to enter commands in a Web-based form and get the back-end database to respond.

Each group is thought to be comprised of five to 10 people, according to Symantec. Although they don't share the same attack infrastructure, both are interested in the same targets in Iran and have roughly the same working hours.

An analysis of Cadelspy's file strings revealed that some dates use the Solar Hijri calendar format, common in Iran and Afghanistan.

Some computers were infected with both Cadelyspy and Remexi, with the infections occurring within minutes of one another.

"One computer that was infected with both Cadelspy and Remexi was a system that ran a SIM card editing application," Symantec wrote. "Other compromised computers included those belonging to web developers or are file and database servers."

Another target appears to be people using anonymous proxies -- services that help mask the service a person is connecting to to evade blocks on certain websites.

"Reports have shown that many Iranians avail of these services to access sites that are blocked by the government's Internet censorship," Symantec wrote. "Dissidents, activists, and researchers in the region may use these proxies in an attempt to keep their online activities private."


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags hackerssymantec

Featured

Slideshows

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

Partners are actively building out security practices and services to match, yet remain challenged by a lack of guidance in the market. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable - in association with Sophos - assessed the making of an MSSP, outlining the blueprint for growth and how partners can differentiate in New Zealand.

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ
Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

The leading players of the New Zealand channel came together to celebrate a year of achievement at the inaugural Reseller News Platinum Club lunch in Auckland. Following the Reseller News Innovation Awards, Platinum Club provides a platform to showcase the top performing partners and start-ups of the past 12 months, with more than ​​50 organisations in the spotlight.​​​

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018
Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP has honoured its leading partners in New Zealand during 2018, following 12 months of growth through the local channel. Unveiled during the fourth running of the ceremony in Auckland, the awards recognise and celebrate excellence, growth, consistency and engagement of standout Kiwi partners.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Show Comments