30 November 2011

Foreign hackers targeted Canadian firms

A leading cyber-crime expert says foreign hackers who launched a massive attack on Canadian government computers last fall also broke into the data systems of prominent Bay Street law firms and other companies to get insider information on an attempted $38-billion corporate takeover.
The cyber-forensics guru with prominent clients around the world calls the assault on Canadian companies and the government "one of the biggest attacks we have ever seen."
The hackers appeared to have been hunting exclusively for information on the Potash deal, and there was no evidence they had penetrated the confidential files of other clients of the firms affected.

The hackers used the same so-called "spear-phishing" technique to break into otherwise highly protected computers in the government, law firms and other companies hit by the attacks.

The hackers sent each target organization a series of emails purporting to be from senior federal officials or firms involved in the PotashCorp deal.

When infected email attachments were opened, they embedded in the target computer network so-called "malware" specifically designed to gather information on the PotashCorp deal.

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