martes, 22 septiembre 2020
Visitas totales a la web: 86046072

El portal de los profesionales de seguridad y emergencias

Nº 1 del mundo en español en seguridad global

Soluciones de seguridad global

Hackers steal secrets from US nuclear missile contractor

Alexander Martin. Technology reporter

Cyber extortionists have stolen sensitive data from a company which supports the US Minuteman III nuclear deterrent.

Hackers have stolen confidential documents from a US military contractor which provides critical support for the country’s Minuteman III nuclear deterrent, Sky News has learnt.

After gaining access to Westech International’s computer network, the criminals encrypted the company’s machines and began to leak documents online to pressure the company to pay extortion.

It is unclear if the documents stolen by the criminals include military classified information, but files which have already been leaked online suggest the hackers had access to extremely sensitive data, including payroll and emails.

Westech International is a US military contractor
Image: Westech International is a US military contractor

There are also concerns that Russian-speaking operators behind the attack could attempt to monetise their haul by selling information about the nuclear deterrent on to a hostile state.

Court documents in the US allege that Russian cyber criminals with a financial motivation have collaborated with the intelligence services in order to steal classified government documents.

A spokesperson for Westech confirmed to Sky News that the company had been hacked and its computers encrypted, and that investigations to identify what data the criminals had managed to steal were ongoing.

The company is involved with the nuclear deterrent as a sub-contractor for Northrup Grumman, providing engineering and maintenance support for the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Minuteman III is the land-based component of the US nuclear deterrent, stored in hundreds of protected underground launch facilities operated by the US Air Force.

Each ICBM is capable of delivering multiple thermonuclear warheads further than 6,000 miles, or the distance between London and Buenos Aires.

Brett Callow, a researcher for Emsisoft which specialises in tackling ransomware incidents, told Sky News: “This is not the first incident in which a contractor has leaked data and, unless action is taken, it will not be the last.

“The information exposed in these incidents could potentially be of interest to other nation states and present a risk to both national security and to the safety of service personnel.

“Even if a company pays the ransom, there is no guarantee that the criminals will destroy the stolen data, especially if it has a high market value.

“They may still sell it to other governments or trade it with other criminal enterprises,” Mr Callow warned, adding that another criminal group operating under the same model is offering interested parties the opportunity to bid for its stolen data.

A warning sign is seen along the perimeter of a deactivated Titan II complex at the Titan Missile on May 12, 2015 in Green Valley, Arizona. The museum is located in a preserved Titan II ICBM launch complex and is devoted to educating visitors about the Cold War and the Titan II missile's contribution as a nuclear deterrent. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
Image: ICBM launch sites are protected locations

Westech’s computers were encrypted with the MAZE ransomware, which is traded on a range of Russian-speaking underground cyber crime markets and has been used to attack dozens of companies in the West in the past year alone.

The creators of MAZE seem to operate under an affiliate model allowing hackers to use their tool in exchange for a slice of the profits, according to research into the group by cyber security firm FireEye.

Charles Carmakal of FireEye’s incident response arm Mandiant told Sky News that the creators of the ransomware were definitely separate from the groups operating it – although there was some co-ordination between them all.

The creators have a centralised voice through their naming and shaming website, Mr Carmakal noted, where they leak documents in order to extort their victims.

However there are various groups performing the attacks themselves, some of whom FireEye has identified recruiting collaborators on Russian-language cyber crime forums.

Mr Carmakal said it was not always easy for these types of criminals to get access to their governments if they wished to sell particularly valuable data.

“The real risk is that, as these groups have proven they will do, the threat actors will publish the data they’ve stolen,” he added.

Westech’s spokesperson told Sky News: “We recently experienced a ransomware incident, which affected some of our systems and encrypted some of our files.

“Upon learning of the issue, we immediately commenced an investigation and contained our systems,” they added.

“We have also been working closely with an independent computer forensic firm to analyse our systems for any compromise and to determine if any personal information is at risk.”

Sky News can confirm that personal information is included in the documents which the criminals have leaked online.

Northrup Grumman and the US Department of Defense declined to comment.

Fecha de publicaciónjunio 03, 2020

BELT.ES no se hace responsable de las opiniones de los artículos reproducidos en nuestra Revista de Prensa, ni hace necesariamente suyas las opiniones y criterios expresados. La difusión de la información reproducida se realiza sin fines comerciales. 

Listado de Expertos


Profesión militar: Obediencia debida frente a la obligación de disentir

Con ocasión de la realización de estudios en el Instituto Universitario Gutiérrez Mellado tuve la ocasión de leer y analizar una serie de documentos de opinión que trataban en profundidad las diferentes facetas presentes en el campo de las relaciones cívico-militares; temas que , habitualmente, no han estado presentes en los diferentes cursos y actividades formativas en la enseñanza militar, ni, por supuesto, en la civil.

El paracaidista español que humilló a los «temibles» espías soviéticos

Joaquín Madolell, natural de Melilla y militar del Ejército del Aire, desarticuló la mayor red del espionaje...

UME, para servir

Uno se pregunta, al ver las estadísticas de bajas, por qué no funcionarán los gobernantes con la misma prontitud y eficacia que los militares. Circula un video en el que un general, a pesar de la mascarilla, explica claramente el funcionamiento de las Unidades militares; una perfecta organización en la que un estado mayor planea y dirige las operaciones en curso, mientras otro va programando las operaciones futuras. Todo un engranaje funcionando con eficacia, en silencio y sin alardes, donde cada elemento sabe lo que tiene que hacer y cómo hacerlo, sacando el máximo rendimiento de sus escasos medios, y a pesar de lo imprevisto y desconocido de un enemigo que dio la cara cuando ya estaba dentro.

Últimas noticias

El contraataque de Álvarez-Pallete

La retirada de César Alierta como máximo responsable de Telefónica en 2016 abrió las puertas de la Presidencia a su delfín...


En España, nuestra Nación, para algunos simplemente país o IBEX35, todo está dicho en el Congreso, en la prensa y en las redes sociales....

Mozambique army surrounds port held by Isis-linked insurgents

Militants seized the Mocímboa da Praia site, which is near gas projects worth £45bn, last week Government troops are...

Strategic Security: Forward Thinking for Successful Executives

An engaging study of management from a security industry perspective, Strategic Security: Forward Thinking for Successful Executives unfolds like an academic program on strategic...

El desconocido error histórico de «Salvar al Soldado Ryan» con el Día D y el capitán Miller

Francis L. Sampson no era un maestro de escuela, sino un capellán militar de la 101ª División Aerotransportada Existen...