Move over, hitmen-for-hire! Researchers have found a hackers-for-hire group that had been operating secretly since 2015. Dubbed as “Void Balaur ,” the group is reportedly responsible for targeting a series of entities and individuals involved in human rights activism, belonging to the government, or those who are simply in the public eye.
The cyberespionage group had been conducting hacking operations since 2015 in exchange for money, but found only now. The group’s name “Void Balaur” is based on Romanian folklore, referring a dragon with multiple heads – symbolic of how much power the group may have wielded over the last six years.
How was the group found, you wonder?
Quite simply, they screwed up. The group’s advertisements were found on underground Russian forums, going back to as early as 2017. They were selling critical information including credit reports, banking data, text messages, mobile phone tower logs, passenger flight details, and even passport details.
The profile of the newly discovered group was published by Trend Micro, an IT security company. Trend Micro’s Feike Hacquebord recently said that this group doesn’t operate out of a building, “nor does it have a shiny prospectus that describes its services.”
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The group regularly breaks into email accounts and social media accounts for money, the firm added. At least, 3,500 targeted email addresses have found unearthed by Trend Micro. Besides the usual victims – politicians and activists, the group has also hacked into accounts of scientists and doctors, especially those working at IVF clinics and biotechnology companies, along with telecom engineers. Why? We can only guess.
Most victims of the group are from Russia and neighbouring countries. That’s not all! Victims were also located in the United States, Israel, Japan, India, and some European countries.
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Trend Micro’s analysis claims that the data is leaked from a rogue employee or by hacked accounts of some employees. This discovery sheds light on digital mercenary activity that continues to increase in the contemporary world.
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The Far-Reaching Attacks of the Void Balaur Cybermercenary Group. (2021). Security News.