Hackers target chem companies in wave of cyber attacks – US firm

31 October 2011 22:59  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Several chemical companies were the targets of a coordinated wave of cyber attacks aimed at stealing pro­prietary designs, formulas and manufacturing processes, a US-based Internet security firm said on Monday.

The attacks lasted from July to September and targeted 29 chemical companies, Symantec said in a report titled “The Nitro Attacks: Stealing Secrets from the Chemical Industry”.

The report did not identify any companies, but said they included several Fortune 100 firms.

Hackers emailed files disguised as meeting invitations or security updates to specific recipients.

When the emails were opened, a file called PoisonIvy would install itself on the recipient’s computer, giving the hackers access to information, like IP addresses and network passwords.

The hackers would then use the infected computer to access other computers on the network, with the primary goal of gaining access to a system storing intellectual property, the report said.

The attacks were traced back to a computer system in the US owned by “a 20-something male located in the Hebei region in China”, the report said.

Symantec gave him the name “Covert Grove”, based on the literal translation of his name.

“We are unable to determine if Covert Grove is the sole attacker or if he has a direct or only indirect role,” the report said. “Nor are we able to definitively determine if he is hacking these targets on behalf of another party or multiple parties.”

By: Bobbie Clark
+1 713 525 2653

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