How “omnipotent” hackers tied to NSA hid for 14 years—and were found at last
“Equation Group” ran the most advanced hacking operation ever uncovered.
Kaspersky Lab has named them the Equation Group. They've been using spyware and malware to infect computers of governments, telecoms, military, nuclear research, energy and other companies in more than 30 countries for around 14 years. Two of the most sophisticated computer attack tools, Stuxnet and Flame, contained hand-me-downs from Equation Group.
"It seems to me Equation Group are the ones with the coolest toys," Costin Raiu, director of Kaspersky Lab's global research and analysis team, told Ars. "Every now and then they share them with the Stuxnet group and the Flame group, but they are originally available only to the Equation Group people. Equation Group are definitely the masters, and they are giving the others, maybe, bread crumbs. From time to time they are giving them some goodies to integrate into Stuxnet and Flame."
One of their malware packages had the ability to infect a hard drive's firmware and could survive military-grade disk wiping and reformatting. So the target could format and reinstall all they wanted, once a hard drive was compromised, the infection was impossible to detect or remove.
If you're at all curious about military grade hacking… read this article. It's fascinating and slightly scary. Welcome to World War III…. "Shall we play a game?"