When McAfee released its Operation Shady Rat hacking report earlier this week, it didn't name all of the organizations it thought could have been hacked as part of a large, five-year ongoing campaign. Yours might be one of them.
McAfee said 72 organizations worldwide were hacked, according log reports in a server that McAfee gained access to. It listed a few, such as the U.N., the U.S. International Trade Organization and the World Anti-Doping Agency, but most were unnamed.
The company's report generated wide media coverage and a breathless recount of the continued threat that sophisticated hackers pose. China even responded, saying in its official People's Daily newspaper on Friday that linking every cyberattack to the country is "irresponsible."
So how would a company find out if they were affected? It might be hard. But a security vendor has built a Web-based tool called the Shady Rat checker that went live on Friday. It checks to see if the IP address of the computer you are using is listed in the Shady Rat server logs.
A positive result means that a particular computer has communicated with the Shady Rat command-and-control server, said Aviv Raff, CTO and co-founder of Seculert, a company that has a cloud-based service used to detect malware and other cyberthreats.
"It means that your network is or was compromised by Shady Rat," Raff said. "It will also tell you how many times it communicated with the C&C server, and when was the first time."
After McAfee's Shady Rat report was released, Raff said "it took us few hours to put the clues together and realize which attack McAfee was referring to. This is only one of the attacks we monitor on a daily basis."
In fact, Raff said the Shady Rat attack is not particularly special, except for one technical aspect in how the command-and-control server transmitted instructions to compromised machines.
Even several days after McAfee released its report, the server is remarkably still online and communicating with infected machines. The log files are still openly available without any hacking, which is how Raff and Seculert were able to get a list of the 700 IP addresses. Raff said his organization learned the Shady Rat attack "several months ago," and McAfee said in its report that the attack was not new.
The Shady Rat server is hosted in the U.S. but Raff declined to reveal its hosting provider. "I'm sure they were already contacted, as this is under law enforcement investigation," he said.
Send news tips and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org