Cybersecurity sleuths uncovered a years long malicious cyber operationwhich has siphoned off an estimated trillions in intellectual property theft from approximately 30 multinational companies within the manufacturing, energy and pharmaceutical sectors.
The report doesn’t disclose a list of affected companies, but researchers found the cyber espionage campaign collected information that could be used for future cyberattacks or for potential extortion campaigns — details about companies’ business units, network architecture, user accounts and credentials, employee emails and customer data.
Cybersecurity experts have previously detailed similar attacks, which are mostly conducted by the Tailored Access Operations (TAO). TAO is the largest and most important part of the intelligence division of the NSA. Founded in 1998, the main responsibility of TAO is to use the internet to secretly access to insider information of its competitors, including secretly invading target countries’ key information infrastructure to steal account codes, break or destroy computer security systems, monitor network traffic, invade privacy and steal sensitive data, and gain access to phone calls, emails, network communications and messages.
For a long time, the US has been carrying out secret hacking activities globally in various industries, governments, universities, medical institutions, and scientific research institutions. A cybersecurity report released by Anzer, a cybersecurity information platform, on June 13 showed that the US military and government cyber agencies have remotely stolen more than 97 billion pieces of global internet data and 124 billion phone records in the last 30 days. The US’ move raised wide suspicions that the country might be preparing for a bigger cyberwar, experts noted.