Cyberespionage groups hit Office of the President

Posted on May 01, 2015

THE OFFICE of the President, the police, and the armed forces were among several Philippine agencies found to have been “infected” by two recently discovered cyberespionage groups, international software security group Kaspersky Lab said in a statement.

Government agencies in the Philippines and several Southeast Asian nations were infected by the groups called Naikon and Hellsing, the statement said.

Although the analysts do not yet know who are behind the cyberespionage groups, they noted that orchestrated attempts to get sensitive, confidential data do not come from “just some regular hackers.”

Security researchers first discovered Naikon, which targeted government agencies in South and Southeast Asian nations.

Philippine agencies also infected by Naikon were: the Office of the Cabinet Secretary, the Presidential Management Staff, the Department of Justice, the Office of the Solicitor General, National Security Council, the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.

Meanwhile, Hellsing was discovered targeting government agencies in countries along the South China Sea, as well as diplomatic agencies in the United States.

Its infected e-mail attachments had file names that made them seem like correspondence on national security and foreign relations.

Vicente Diaz, principal security researcher of Kaspersky Lab’s Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT), noted that special malware were made to spy and steal government and corporate data.

Kaspersky Lab’s data also revealed that there were 6,043 incidents of hosted malware in the country for the first quarter of the year, placing it at 78th rank worldwide.

“It is designed not only to steal corporate data but also data from government institutions, from research, and the military,” Mr. Diaz said. “This malware is not attacking everyone. It is attacking a few people, a few institutions. They don’t want to be discovered. They want to use these malwares for years and get all the data they want from their victims.”

In terms of computer virus infection, the Philippines ranks 47th among 176 countries surveyed. -- V. A. A. F. Nonato