Jul 23 2008
One thing that has always interested me is the types of targets Chinese hackers seek out for attack. Since it is impossible for us to protect everything, or be everywhere, understanding the most likely targets should be a high priority. Of course this is only part of a comprehensive cyber security program but knowing how your adversary thinks is one area we need to explore.
An article in pchome.net gave the five most desired websites Chinese hackers sought out in order to hang trojans. Trojans have been the tool of choice for Chinese hackers since their first indigenously produced program Glacier was introduced into the cyber conflict with Taiwan in 1999.
According to pchome.net, these were the preferred websites:
- Government websites
: Government sites are chosen due to low-level security and the lack of specially trained security personnel. They do not bring financial gain but have the potential to influence public opinion. This type of attack “challenges authority” and brings about personal satisfaction for the hacker. A successful attack on a government website provides the attacker with recognition and fame.
- Medium and Small-Scale company websites
: Similar to government websites due to the lack of security. While these types of attacks to not bring about fame for the hacker, they are very good practice for the novice.
- Community websites
: Huge number of visitors, even if the trojan is only around for a short period of time, it can result in a large number of infected visitors. Although the value of the individual users is not as great as a financial website, the collective of infected users can be used to create a botnet. Furthermore, this allows the hacker to steal virtual game assets and QQ (ICQ) money.
- Financial websites
: This type of website does not have a larger number of users but the average individual has a high net worth. If a hacker is able to install a trojan here, they can gain user account passwords, access bank accounts and control stock securities. Although this type of website has very high security, it is the most desirable.
- E-commerce sites
: These website share the benefits of both community and financial websites and are the most lucrative. Hackers are able to manipulate price, supply/demand and control the online transactions. Furthermore, they can use trusted user accounts to construct phishing “activities.” E-commerce website are the most favored for hackers to carry out phishing exploits.
Army lessons learned: First rule in the Army is never present a problem without a solution. Solution, hire people like Jumper who are experts in preventing these types of attacks.
People often ask me if I am worried about this website getting hacked or shutdown by Chinese hackers…I tell them no, I have an excellent firewall…called Jumper.
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