Posted by Martijn Grooten on Oct 20, 2017
Of all the possible targets for digital spies, there is one particularly attractive target that doesn't get a lot of attention: that of other espionage campaigns.
Yet this kind of fourth-party collection really does go on. Earlier this month, at VB2017, Costin Raiu and Juan Andrés Guerrero-Saade, from Kaspersky Lab's GReAT team, presented a well received paper on the subject, in which they looked both at the general subject and at specific examples of fourth-party collection they had come across. And while the researchers made it clear that these examples don't make attack attribution entirely impossible, they showed that attribution is very complicated.
If you are interested in attribution of advanced malware attacks and the role security researchers play in it, make sure you also read the papers and/or watch the presentations Juan Andrés gave at the last two VB conferences: on the transition of malware researchers into intelligence brokers and, together with his colleague Brian Bartholomew, on false flags used in targeted attacks.