Recently the US government and defence industry computers were hacked. According to experts hackers used photos on Twitter for the cyber-attack. The malicious data was hidden in the benign photos.
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The experts studying the cyber-attack campaign belong to the security company FireEye Inc. According to Fire Eye Inc. hackers used usual tandems to communicate with infected computers. The findings were released in a police report on Wednesday.
Jennifer Weedon is the FireEye Strategic Analysis Manager. Weedon revealed to FT that the group used many layers of deceptive codes in tweets and photos. Weedon also called the hackers group innovative and creative.
FireEye also revealed the group responsible for the hack is called the APT29. The group APT29 was previously accused of having used flaws in the Adobe flash player.
The unknown flaw was used to hack into high value computers. The group is presumably supported by the Russian government. The attack took place in April 2015.
The technique of hiding data in photos is called Steganography. In Steganography, hackers use malicious data to encode pixels in a picture. The data which makes up pixels is hard to detect by anti-virus systems.
A senior manager at Symantec Corp Vikram Thakur revealed they had also found data hidden in photos. Symantec calls the group APT29 as the Duke family. Symantec also shared the names of the tool for data stealing.
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The tools use Steganography and are called Seaduke and CozyDuke. CozyDuke is associated with the Russian firm Kaspersky Lab. CozyDuke was also implicated as in the hack of the State Department and the White House computers.