- More than 10 cell service providers around the world have been hacked in an attack that compromises key information about customers of the affected providers, according to a report by security research firm Cybereason.
- Information includes call detail records, like who customers were talking to, what devices they were using, and customer locations.
- It’s estimated that between 20 and 100 individuals are being targeted in the attack, which is likely aimed at high-profile individuals in government and military positions.
- The affected cell service providers are based in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. There’s no indication yet that US cell service providers have been compromised.
- Cybereason suspects the attack originates from China and it also suspects state-sponsorship, which suggests the Chinese government might be behind the attack.
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Since 2012, hackers have had access to customer call detail records – like their locations, who they were talking to, and what devices they were using – from more than 10 cell service providers around the world, according to a report from security research firm Cybereason, which we saw on TechCrunch and CNET.
Cybereason said with a “high level of certainty” that the hack was conducted from China, and is likely state-sponsored. The attacks are ongoing.
The attacks targeted cell service providers from various countries, including countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Cybereason’s investigation is still ongoing, so it can’t reveal which cell service providers and companies have been affected, but the location of some of the victimized companies appear strategic.
While the hack afforded the attackers access to any customer of the affected cell service provides, the number of targeted individuals ranges between 20 and 100, according to figures from TechCrunch and CNET. The attack was likely targeting high-profile individuals in government and military positions, one of the Cybereason report’s authors, Mor Levi, said.
Content from phone calls and messages weren’t obtained, but the type of information that was gathered is still invaluable to any entity that intends to spy.
There’s no indication so far that US cell service providers were affected by the attack, one of the Cybereason report’s authors, Amit Serper, said.
Cybereason’s suspicion of a China-sponsored cyber attack comes amid tensions between the US and China. The investigation is especially relevant to the US ban of Chinese telecoms company, Huawei, from doing business with US companies. The ban is based on US concerns that Huawei has ties with the Chinese government, and its products could, as Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said, “potentially undermine U.S. national security or foreign policy interests.”