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Operation Shady Rat

Operation Shady RAT definition

Operation Shady RAT is a sophisticated cyber espionage campaign uncovered by McAfee in 2011. The operation, found to be active since 2006, involved widespread and prolonged cyber intrusions targeting various organizations globally, including government agencies, corporations, non-profits, and international institutions —  it compromised at least 72 organizations over a five-year period. 

See also: Remote access trojan, Cyber espionage

Operation Shady RAT: What did it do?

Here's a summary of how Operation Shady RAT worked:

  1. 1.Target identification. The attackers selected a wide range of targets, including defense contractors, international organizations, and high-tech companies. The diverse targets suggest the campaign aimed to gather sensitive information and intellectual property.
  2. 2.Initial compromise. The attackers used spear-phishing emails to gain an initial foothold. The emails contained malicious attachments or links that, when opened, installed a remote access trojan (RAT) on the victim's device. It gave the attackers remote control over the infected computer.
  3. 3.Data exfiltration. With remote access established, the attackers systematically searched for valuable data. They copied sensitive documents, emails, and intellectual property, and then exfiltrated this information to servers under their control.
  4. 4.Maintaining persistence and covering tracks.. The attackers used various techniques to maintain long-term access to the compromised systems. They regularly changed and updated the malware to avoid detection by antivirus software and used sophisticated command-and-control infrastructure to manage their operations. They used encryption to protect their communications and often deleted or modified logs to cover their tracks.