DeviantArt user: Tincho555
Researchers have uncovered a seven-year-old malware operation that combines advanced cryptographic attacks, zero-day exploits, and well-developed keyloggers to target elite executives staying in luxury hotels during business trips.
The attackers behind “DarkHotel,” as the advanced persistent threat has been dubbed, appear to know in advance when a targeted exec will check in and check out of a hotel. Victims are infected through a variety of methods, including bogus software updates for Adobe Flash, Google Toolbar, or other trusted software that are presented when the exec uses the hotel’s Wi-Fi or wired Internet access. In many cases, the attack code is signed with a trusted digital certificate that the attackers were able to clone by factoring the underlying 512-bit private key. While factoring weak 512-bit keys has been practical for several years, the crypto attack nonetheless is an “advanced” capability, particularly a few years ago. Taken together, the characteristics are an indication the operators have some sophistication, said researchers from Kaspersky Lab, the Russia-based security firm that disclosed the campaign.
“The fact that most of the time the victims are top executives indicates the attackers have knowledge of their victims whereabouts, including name and place of stay,” the researchers wrote in a report published Monday. “This paints a dark, dangerous web in which unsuspecting travelers can easily fall. While the exact reason why some hotels function as an attacker vector are unknown, certain suspicions exist, indicating possibly a much larger compromise. We are still investigating this aspect of the operation and will publish more information in the future.”
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