IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Cyber security firm FireEye hit by 'state-sponsored' attack

The company says "highly sophisticated" hackers have breached its systems and made off with advanced penetration tools

US cyber security firm FireEye, which is often used by governments to fend off state-sponsored attacks, has fallen victim to a hack that is believed to be the work of Russian actors

The company confirmed the attack on Tuesday, admitting that a "highly sophisticated state-sponsored adversary" had breached its systems and made off with advanced penetration tools

FireEye, which has 8,800 customers, didn't name which nation was behind the attack, but said the hackers had "top-tier offensive capabilities". It added that the case had been passed on to the FBI, which in turn, forwarded it on to a team of Russian specialists. 

The Bureau also confirmed the hack on Tuesday, but it didn't reveal which state was responsible. The organisation said that preliminary indications showed an "actor with a high level of sophistication consistent with a nation-state". 

Whoever the culprits are, the fear is that the stolen tools will be used in other sophisticated attacks on governments and other critical organisations. FireEye said it had "incorporated" countermeasures in its products which it has shared with partners and government agencies. 

"A highly sophisticated state-sponsored adversary stole FireEye Red Team tools," the firm said in a statement.

"Because we believe that an adversary possesses these tools, and we do not know whether the attacker intends to use the stolen tools themselves or publicly disclose them, FireEye is releasing hundreds of countermeasures to enable the broader security community to protect themselves against these tools." 

A 'Red Team' is a unit of security professionals that have the authorisation to mimic potential attacks and exploits on their own security systems or clients. FireEye's team works on large enterprise security and provides detailed analysis and advice on how to counter and prevent attacks. 

The tools taken range from simple scripts used for automating reconnaissance to entire frameworks for an attack, according to FireEye. Some of them are publicly available tools modified to evade basic security detection mechanisms, while other tools and frameworks were developed in-house for the company's Red Team.

Featured Resources

Big data for finance

How to leverage big data analytics and AI in the finance sector

Free Download

Ten critical factors for cloud analytics success

Cloud-native, intelligent, and automated data management strategies to accelerate time to value and ROI

Free Download

Remove barriers and reconnect with your customers

The $260 billion dollar friction problem businesses don't know they have

Free Download

The future of work is already here. Now’s the time to secure it.

Robust security to protect and enable your business

Free Download

Most Popular

Why collaboration is key to digital transformation
Sponsored

Why collaboration is key to digital transformation

13 Sep 2022
Anonymous hacks Iranian government and state broadcasters
cyber attacks

Anonymous hacks Iranian government and state broadcasters

22 Sep 2022
What your hybrid workforce needs from their laptops
Advertisement Feature

What your hybrid workforce needs from their laptops

21 Sep 2022