Crowdstrike, a cybersecurity company, recently released a report that an unidentified company in the aviation industry was significantly hacked through last year and this year, according to a report by CNBC.
The hacker obtained “valid credentials” as well as a “high level of administrative access.”
The report illustrates a growing problem, which is repeated attacks on aviation companies and other industries that are loosely tied to a country’s national security apparatus.
It also shows how these attacks, which are slower and more deliberate, are not as flashy as a usual attack but just as damaging.
The motive of the hack was apparently to collect data and get access to a large swath of the company’s information throughout its different divisions.
The hack was also a long-term mission, one that was meant to get as much as possible while remaining undetected. There’s no specific person or group implicated in the attack, but some news sources point to China as the culprit.
China has denied any involvement in any hacking, and China Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said any reports implicating the country were unprofessional and had “ulterior motives.”
The hacker was able to move through the company by stealing more and more credentials, as well as users’ passwords. The hacker was also “observed opening a significant number of document and image files belonging to a user of interest. The files inspected included the extensions .log, .jpg and .docx, and were located within the [employee’s] Desktop and Documents directories.”
“The report illustrates that 2019 is proving to be an active year for adversaries with a significant increase in eCrime as well as the inter-relationships across different eCrime groups,” Crowdstrike said. “These groups continue to strengthen their organizations, forge alliances and expand their footprints in ways that are impacting organizations in virtually every industry. In addition, targeted adversaries are employing increasingly creative techniques to avoid detection and perform actions on objectives.”