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Security researchers say they have uncovered a massive espionage campaign involving the theft of call records from hacked cell network providers to conduct targeted surveillance on individuals of interest.
The hackers have systematically broken in to more than 10 cell networks around the world to date over the past seven years to obtain massive amounts of call records — including times and dates of calls, and their cell-based locations — on at least 20 individuals.
Researchers - Cybereason - Operation - Findings - TechCrunch
Researchers at Boston-based Cybereason, who discovered the operation and shared their findings with TechCrunch, said the hackers could track the physical location of any customer of the hacked telcos — including spies and politicians — using the call records.
Lior Div, Cybereason’s co-founder and chief executive, told TechCrunch it’s “massive-scale” espionage.
Detail - Records - CDRs - Jewels - Intelligence
Call detail records — or CDRs — are the crown jewels of any intelligence agency’s collection efforts. These call records are highly detailed metadata logs generated by a phone provider to connect calls and messages from one person to another. Although they don’t include the recordings of calls or the contents of messages, they can offer detailed insight into a person’s life. The National Security Agency has for years controversially collected the call records of Americans from cell providers like AT&T and Verizon (which owns TechCrunch), despite the questionable legality.
Cybereason researchers said they first detected the attacks about a year ago. Before and since then, the hackers broke into one cell provider after the other to gain continued and persistent access to the networks. Their goal, the researchers believe, is to obtain and download rolling records on the target from the cell provider’s database without having to deploy malware on each target’s device.
Div - Hackers - Targets - Everything - Phone
Div said the hackers acted invisibly to their targets. “They know everything about them without ever hacking their phone,” he said.
The researchers found the hackers got...
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