Cybercriminals have been compromising the internet security of many well known companies and organizations around the globe for at least the past five years, according to a new report.
Dubbed Operation Shady RAT within the data security industry, a reference to the tool used to crack the servers, it has been revealed that 72 global organizations were affected, many of them high-profile. Among those affected include the International Olympic Committee, the United Nations, a lab for the U.S. Energy Department, numerous U.S. defense contractors and many others.
The Associated Press' New York office was found to be targeted often in 2009. Company spokesman Jack Stokes said the AP was aware of the new report, but would not comment on network security matters.
This new revelation has many within the security profession wondering who is responsible and how it has gone undetected for so long. Many people are pointing their fingers to the Far East to answer the first question.
According to the Washington Post, the Center for Strategic and International Studies' cybersecurity expert James Lewis said China is most likely behind the cyber attacks. That's because many of the 72 targets are located in Taiwan and many of the Olympic organizations were targeted shortly before the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, Lewis said.
“This isn’t the first we’ve seen. This has been going on from China since at least 1998," he told the Post.
However, others are quick to point out that no hard proof of China's involvement has been uncovered.
Still, the incident is further evidence of the rise of state-sanctioned hacking, to which the United States is no stranger. According to a separate report from the Washington Post, the National Security Agency is among numerous government agencies that are using the recent Defcon hacking conference in Las Vegas as a recruiting event of sorts.