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Kaspersky Lab

Researchers have uncovered an ongoing, large-scale computer espionage network that's targeting hundreds of diplomatic, governmental, and scientific organizations in at least 39 countries, including the Russian Federation, Iran, and the United States.

Operation Red October, as researchers from antivirus provider Kaspersky Lab have dubbed the highly coordinated campaign, has been active since 2007, raising the possibility it has already siphoned up hundreds of terabytes of sensitive information. It uses more than 1,000 distinct modules that have never been seen before to customize attack profiles for each victim. Among other things, components target individual PCs, networking equipment from Cisco Systems, and smartphones from Apple, Microsoft, and Nokia. The attack also features a network of command-and-control servers with a complexity that rivals that used by the Flame espionage malware that targeted Iran.

"This is a pretty glaring example of a multiyear cyber espionage campaign," Kaspersky Lab expert Kurt Baumgartner told Ars. "We haven't seen these sorts of modules being distributed, so the customized approach to attacking individual victims is something we haven't seen before at this level."

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Cyberoam, a maker of appliances designed to secure sensitive networks, said it has issued an update to fix a flaw that could be used to intercept communications sent over the TOR anonymity network.

Cyberoam issued the hotfix on Monday to a variety of its unified threat management tools. The devices, which are used to inspect individual packets entering or exiting an organization's network, previously used the same cryptographic certificate. Researchers with the TOR network recently reported the flaw and said it caused a user to seek a fake certificate for when one of the DPI (or deep packet inspection) devices was being used to monitor his connection.

"Examination of a certificate chain generated by a Cyberoam DPI device shows that all such devices share the same CA certificate and hence the same private key," TOR researcher Runa A. Sandvik wrote in a blog post published last Tuesday. "It is therefore possible to intercept traffic from any victim of a Cyberoam device with any other Cyberoam device—or to extract the key from the device and import it into other DPI devices, and use those for interception." Someone commenting on the post went on to publish the purported private key used by the Cyberoam certificate.

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