Update to this story on the third page
As espionage has moved closer toward the digital world, we've been seeing more heavily backed hacker teams - perhaps directly involved with government intelligence operations. You may remember the Red October malware from earlier this year which targeted leaders in finance, engineering and oil.
It also targeted Russian satellite countries, India and many Western European countries as well. The malware was reportedly operating worldwide for up to five years prior to discovery, transmitting information ranging from diplomatic secrets to personal information, including from mobile devices.
Well, an update for Red October just hit the scene. Security researchers are calling it Inception, and have claimed that these hackers are on an espionage campaign.
They gave this campaign a cool name: Cloud Atlas.
Experts aren't entirely sure about who's behind these hacks. Blue Court security researchers after pouring through the code:
"The attackers have left a slew of potential hints to their physical location. However, it is extremely difficult to distinguish which of these indicators are legitimate clues and which are bread crumbs intentionally dropped to obscure their trail."
These hackers are professional enough to know how to toy with investigators. That's scary. At this point, though, security researchers may as well have just realized that this team is on the market.
Stick with me and I'll update you as security experts hunt these criminals down.
Want to stay protected against other government-backed hacker spies? This app can detect government malware in your computer.
Update: It's been over a month since the Inception hack was revealed. All major security companies involved in investigating the hack believe that the hack is coming from the same team behind the Red October attacks.
The only problem is that these hackers are even smarter than security experts initially believed.
Waylon Grange, a security researcher with Blue Court, spoke with Fortune Magazine about just how hard these hackers are to catch:
Even when you do find a clue with these guys you can’t be so sure of trusting it. All the hints we thought we had were red herrings.
The fact that it's been so long and the hackers still haven't been identified means that even well-paid security researchers can't decode simple programming. If a hacker designs their malware to be harder to trace, then there's very little that security researchers can actually do.
Though the hackers behind both of these attacks have gone quiet, Blue Court expects that they'll be back after the heat dies down.