By Elinor Mills
January 25, 2010
People behind the China-based online attacks of Google and other
companies looked up key employees on social networks and contacted them
pretending to be their friends to get the workers to click on links
leading to malware, according to a published report on Monday.
"The most significant discovery is that the attackers had selected
employees at the companies with access to proprietary data, then learnt
who their friends were," the Financial Times reported. "The hackers
compromised the social network accounts of those friends, hoping to
enhance the probability that their final targets would click on the
links they sent."
"We're seeing a lot more up-front reconnaissance, understanding who the
players are at the company and how to reach them," George Kurtz, chief
technology officer at security firm McAfee, told the Financial Times.
"Someone went to the trouble to backtrack: 'Let me look at their
friends, who I can target as a secondary person.'"
The attackers used a popular instant-messaging program to distribute the
malware link to target employees, Kurtz said. The malware exploited a
hole in Internet Explorer that Microsoft patched just last week.
Did a friend send you this? From now on, be the
first to find out! Subscribe to InfoSec News