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Microsoft joins Apple, Facebook and others in a string of cyber attacks

Microsoft was recently added to the list in a recent string of high profile cyber-attacks. Rogue hackers have also capitalized on Mandiant’s report alleging that the Chinese are playing a major role in U.S. computer network infiltration.

Microsoft recently added themselves to the list of a string of high profile cyber-attacks.  Facebook and Apple both admitted that hackers had infiltrated their servers as well in an attempt to spread computer viruses. Many computer experts believe the recent report from Mandiant, which is a computer security agency, gave many rogue hackers an excuse to engage in a heavy barrage of high profile website break-ins. 

In a recent blog post from Microsoft, they wrote that a small number of their computers had become victim to some malicious software that was installed by online hackers.  Microsoft put to rest any concerns from their customers saying they did not have any evidence that any malware had spread, or that any customer data was compromised, however, they did say that an investigation into the break-in was ongoing.

During our investigation, we found a small number of computers, including some in our Mac business unit, that were infected by malicious software using techniques similar to those documented by other organizations. We have no evidence of customer data being affected and our investigation is ongoing, “writes Matt Thomlinson, General Manager of Microsoft’s Computer Security. “ This type of cyber-attacks is no surprise to Microsoft and other companies that must grapple with determined and persistent adversaries (see our prior analysis of emerging threat trends).”

On Tuesday, February 19th, Apple announced the same group of rogue hackers that hit Facebook attacked them.  Facebook claimed that they sourced the attack out of China and had done so by using an exploit in the laptops of some of their employees. 

In regards to the recent report from Mandiant on threats to U.S. computer networks, the report itself is now being used as a means to spread more malware and viruses.  Tainted versions of their report began showing up online recently that would infect PCs with a virus that allowed a hacker to take control of an infected PC. 

Symantec Corporation announced on their website blog that some versions of Mandiant’s report also began showing up in Japanese based E-mails.  

Brandon Dixon who serves as a security engineer for Mandiant wrote on February 21st, “This morning I identified a PDF with the name "Mandiant_APT2_Report.pdf" uploaded from India and was using a lure different than what Symantec just reported on. The file is password protected following the theme Xecure andmyself had seen last year.”

Many security experts feel that the recent flood of cyber-attacks will only fuel other rogue hackers to cause more mischief online.  These recent attacks also coincide with Anonymous’ “Operation Last Resort”, which is a direct response to the suicide of Aaron Swartz after the U.S. Justice department began targeting him.  Anonymous has successfully hacked both the U.S. Department of State and USSC websites.

Jack Taylor
Jack Taylor is an accomplished writer who works as a freelance journalist and has contributed to many award winning media agencies, which includes VRzone. Born in 1971, Taylor holds a Bachelor of Science with a focus in Journalism, graduating Magna Cum Laude. An eclectic writer, Taylor specializes in editorials, trending technologies and controversial topics such as hacktivism and government spying.

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