The hacking attack issue Google mentioned around a month ago has taken a much more serious turn. Wall Street Journal reports that the attack is much wider and has probably affected computers at 2,500 corporations and 10 US government agencies. At least two large companies that had been infiltrated are Merck and Cardinal Health, even though they claim to have isolated the incident.
The far reaching effects of this attack came in to notice when an employee of NetWitness –a cyber security firm– tried to install protective software on a client’s machine. The attack apparently started by enticing company employees to click on false anti-virus advertisement. Hackers used that information to get into corporate databases and in one case might even have gotten in to a soldier’s military email account. NetWitness –still closely involved in the investigations– says the full implication of the attack has still not been estimated.
The global attack started back in 2008 from a command center in Germany and has been operated from Europe and China. Some accounts state that nearly 75,000 computers in 196 countries have been effected. There is also speculation that an eastern European criminal group is behind the attack and a commonly used spyware called ZeuS was used to initially infect the computers. A full fledged investigation has been launched by the FBI to look into the matter.