An attack or series of attacks that allows an unauthorized user to view classified information is called cyber espionage. These attacks are done in a subtle way which is running behind in the background, it gets almost unnoticed. The target is usually a corporate or government entity.
The attacks are performed to acquire secured information or secrets. The attackers can perform for profit, terrorism, or secret military operation. The attackers can destroy the information, infrastructure, data, lives, etc.
Popular cyber-espionage tactics
Faux personnel– One of the most used and successful tactics followed is using a fake personnel as an employee of the company you need information. The ‘’faux’’ employee will try to gain access to the data or classified information and send it to their original employer. This cyber spying act is not only most used, but it can let you in the system with a positive outcome. The fake employee can steal important information and sell it or upload a malware or virus into the host system to corrupt the entire system. The attacker can plan ahead of time and plot all the tactics and exploit the data system.
Phishing- Those spam emails claiming you have won million dollar lottery or a legit bank email saying you need to reset your password is termed as phishing. Any link can be suspicious it is designed in a way to deceive you to act on it. These links are generally sent to high profile people who have classified information or money whichever is the motive of the hacker. If it is designed for a specific individual, the act is called as spear phishing.
Previous attacks under cyber espionage
In 2009, Google experienced cyber attacks in conjunction to acquire information specifically to Gmail accounts. The account went under control of Chinese human rights activists’. With Google, there were 20 other companies who were under attack through Microsoft Internet Explorer. To address this issue, the McAfee lab named it as Aurora.
Aurora attackers also targeted emails with virus and malware of high profile candidate from whom valuable information was snatched. The consequences were seen in the entire world. The problem was solved by Microsoft by releasing a security patch and breach report.
These kinds of cyber espionage events happen every now and then. Huge Corporation company and government entities are at highest risk for the attacks. Detecting and preventing vulnerabilities is a full-time job of an ethical hacker. The trick is called social engineering which is specifically designed to bait a host for money or classified information.
Some of the safety tips and tricks are discussed in our previous article.