Researchers at Boston-based Cybereason have revealed that a group of hackers has been infiltrating cell networks around the globe for at least seven years in order to steal the call records of high-profile politicians and even spies, reports TechCrunch.
Cybereason said they first started detecting evidence of the hacks a year ago, and the group responsible for the attacks have hacked into at least 10 cell networks over the past seven years. Their efforts targeted hundreds of gigabytes of data known as CDRs, call detail records. CDR data contains highly detailed metadata about calls and messages a person places.
Cybereason declined to name the targets of the attacks beyond saying politicians and spies were targeted. Also, the company wouldn’t name which cellular network providers have been hit since the attacks are ongoing. However, Cybereason says that they have seen no evidence yet that the hackers targeted North American cellular providers, though they say the situation remains “fluid.”
Given the complexity of the attacks and the skills of the hackers, Cybereason says it’s likely a nation-state is behind the attacks. The most likely culprit, Cyberreason says, is a group known as APT 10, a hacking collective believed to be backed by China. What’s most frightening about the hacks is that the hackers appear to have virtually unlimited control over the networks, according to Cybereason’s head of security research, Amit Serper. “They can do whatever they want,” he told CNET. “Since they have such access, they could shut down the network tomorrow if they wanted to.”
The fact that the hackers have not tried to shut down the infiltrated networks suggest that espionage, not disruption, seems to be their goal.