Sophisticated Hacker Group Strikes for Profit, Not Politics

A shadowy hacking group has made its presence felt in recent months, going after large corporate targets like Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, and Apple. It is a story that has become depressingly familiar. But, in a new development, Symantec said this group of hackers is motivated not by politics or terrorism, but by greed.

The hacker collective, which Symantec labeled Morpho in a report released Wednesday, has been stealing confidential information and intellectual property from companies for the last three years, targeting firms in the IT, Internet, software, pharmaceutical, and commodities sectors. According to Symantec, the group uses advanced techniques and is well funded.

Smarter Than the Average Hacking Collective

EUThe group has developed a suite of custom malware tools capable of attacking both Windows and Apple computers, and appears to have used at least one zero-day vulnerability in its attacks,EU Symantec said in the report. Morpho is also smart -- the group keeps a low profile and maintains good operational security. After successfully compromising a target organization, it will clean up after itself before moving on to its next target.

That makes its activities much harder for authorities to track, and elevates its threat level far above that of the average cybercrime operation. Instead of looking to steal credit card information or customer databases, the group goes after high-level corporate information. The group may be selling the valuable intel it steals from companies to the highest bidder, or it could be operating as a EUhacker for hire,EU according to Symantec. The stolen information could also be destined for insider trading purposes.

American companies have so far been the most popular victims for Morpho, with at least 17 companies attacked in the U.S. Meanwhile, 12 European and four Canadian companies have also been targeted. In total, 49 companies have been attacked by Morpho...

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