Computer Hackers use Monaco
For the past week, some 80,000 emails containing malicious links have been sent by hackers using headlines from events taking place in the Principality. Mail attachments with seemingly harmless appearances may contain malicious computer programs. Emails sent to French ministries refer to events taking place in Monaco.
Today, the city of Troy is no more. Only stone traces remain in the province of Çanakkale, just west of Turkey. The city’s name survived. It designates a particular type of computer attack. Over the past week, some 80,000 emails have been sent using this technique… by using event names from Monaco. The Trojan Horse technique follows the same protocol as the ruse thought by Ulysses to break into the city: hide soldiers inside a wooden horse which the inhabitants of Troy let inside. Today, hackers want to mislead their targets. They advance in disguise, sheltering behind seemingly innocuous masks. They send an email with a seemingly harmless attachment, like the horse from antiquity. Except that they may contain programs which allow a hacker to take control of a computer or network.
Take Over In the hacker case currently in progress, the subjects of these documents in “.doc” are variations of these themes: “To visit the annual exhibition of cars in Monte Carlo”; “Annual Car Show in Monte Carlo”; “The annual car show in Monte Carlo 2016”; “Visit the annual car show in Monte Carlo – 2016”; ”Circus Festival in Monaco”…
Once they get control of the machine, the hackers can search the computer’s contents, retrieve data, destroy data, and send mass emails which paralyze those who receive the emails. The attack which started on Friday the 16th of December targeted certain French ministries. No information has been revealed on the identity of the individuals behind this attack, nor about their intentions. In the meantime, to guard against these attacks, the French National Agency for the Security of Information Systems gave several tips about how to open emails safely. “Do not have a blind trust for the name of the sender; Beware of attachments, never respond to a request for confidential information; Pass your mouse over the links but do not click on the links, pay attention to the accented characters in the text as well as to the quality of the French in the text or the language used by the sender…” We can learn from history. And not end up like the city of Troy.
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