Hackers stole call lists from more than 10 mobile operators worldwide in a massive espionage attempt against at least 20 people, TechCrunch reports. The attack was labeled "Operation Softcell" by cybereason, the security research firm that discovered it. It is sophisticated enough that the company believes that there is a "very high probability" that it is supported by the state.
The target of the attacks is "Call Detail Records" that contain detailed metadata about each call made from a person's phone, including the times. Data and the cell-based location of the device. The content of calls is not included in these records, but the metadata alone is extremely valuable. If a network operator does not realize that their network has been infiltrated, hackers can access that data in real time and individuals can not know that their data has been compromised.
Although the attackers have penetrated deep enough into the individual service providers to "shut down the network of tomorrow," said Amit Serper, head of security research at Cybereason CNET was spying instead of disruption. The hackers seem to be attacking high-profile government and military targets whose movements and communications are significantly impacted by the hack.
The attacks were first discovered a year ago but date back to seven years. Researchers say the attacks are ongoing and the hacker's servers are still operating.
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Due to the complexity of the attacks, Cybereason believes that the group is backed by the nation-state, and the techniques used are consistent with those of APT10, a notorious Chinese hacking group accused of collecting data from NASA, IBM, and other US companies American technology company stolen last year. With the tools and methods of this group now publicly available, researchers say there is no definitive proof that the group is behind the attack.
While no US vendors are likely to be affected by the hack, the discovery of what appears has come to the fore A Chinese-backed hacking attempt is likely to escalate tensions between the US and China. The Trump administration is concerned that China is ready and able to wage cyber warfare against its enemies, and raised cybersecurity concerns when it put Huawei on the Entities list, fearing the company would be using its network devices could use to smuggle malware into US networks. 19659009]