As cyberattack rates rise, the market for hiring hackers and purchasing tools has expanded in response.
Researchers at Symantec say that one of the groups up for hire, Hidden Lynx, is a group of advanced, sophisticated and well-trained cyberattackers with a wealth of tools at their disposal. The group, thought to number between 50 and 100 members, has been tied to high-profile attacks against business and governments worldwide.
According to the security firm, Hidden Lynx has been active since 2009. The group has been linked to attacks including Operation Aurora -- an infamous assault against Google and over 30 other technology giants -- an attack on Bit9 in 2012, and a number of watering hole campaigns this year.
Based in China, the group offers "full service" as well as "customised" cyberespionage attacks against high-profile targets, according to Symantec.
One of the hired guns' favorite methods of breaching security is to target third-parties linked to the victim system, so even if main corporate networks have good defense, other parties can provide the route to tunnel into a network, install malware, and grant the hackers passage to steal valuable, sensitive data or bring down the system itself.
In the last three years, almost half of the group's victims are within the United States, and approximately 24 percent of targets were in the financial industry.
The research paper states:
"The group's goal is to gain access to information within organizations in some of the wealthiest and most technologically advanced countries across the globe. It is unlikely that they can use this information for direct financial gain, and the diversity of the information and number of distinguishable campaigns would suggest that they are contracted by multiple clients."
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