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

A group of hackers behind the Russian flag

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

Managing security risk and compliance in a challenging landscape

How key technology partners grow with your organisation

Download now

Evaluate your order-to-cash process

15 recommended metrics to benchmark your O2C operations

Download now

AI 360: Hold, fold, or double down?

How AI can benefit your business

Download now

Getting started with Azure Red Hat OpenShift

A developer’s guide to improving application building and deployment capabilities

Download now

Recommended

How LogPoint uses MITRE ATT&CK
Whitepaper

How LogPoint uses MITRE ATT&CK

15 Jan 2021
How LogPoint uses MITRE ATT&CK
Whitepaper

How LogPoint uses MITRE ATT&CK

15 Jan 2021
How LogPoint uses MITRE ATT&CK
Whitepaper

How LogPoint uses MITRE ATT&CK

15 Jan 2021
Weekly threat roundup: Microsoft Defender, Adobe, Mimecast
vulnerability

Weekly threat roundup: Microsoft Defender, Adobe, Mimecast

14 Jan 2021

Most Popular

How to recover deleted emails in Gmail
email delivery

How to recover deleted emails in Gmail

6 Jan 2021
The fate of Parler exposes the reality of deregulated social media
Policy & legislation

The fate of Parler exposes the reality of deregulated social media

14 Jan 2021
Should IT departments call time on WhatsApp?
communications

Should IT departments call time on WhatsApp?

15 Jan 2021