Questions linger over Night Dragon

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Suspected Chinese hackers' intentions unclear, says rival anti-virus researcher.

Following last week's report by McAfee on the new combined threat known as Night Dragon, further claims have been made that while this could pose a threat, not enough is known to determine its intention yet.

In a blog post asking whether the Night Dragon attacks were 'myth or reality', Fraser Howard, principal virus researcher at SophosLabs, said that to date, there has not been a specific family of malware known as 'Night Dragon'. Instead, the term has been used to label a series of attacks against various organisations since November 2009, all of which have followed a similar modus operandi.

“The one thing clear from the Night Dragon attacks, is that the use of potentially unwanted application and application control detections should not be dismissed," Howard wrote.

"Using these types of technology to help manage what is allowed to run on your network can clearly provide a real security benefit.”

He went on to claim that what should be learned from this case is that all organisations must take note of the risk that today's cyber criminals can pose.

“The report reflects not so much a single piece of sophistication, in either attack methodology or malware. Instead it emphasises the persistent and coordinated attacks of organised groups against specific organisations, with the goal of extracting sensitive data."

“The truth is that this week is no different to last - there is no new outbreak, vulnerability or risk of infection. Instead, the attacks illustrate the background crimeware menace that all organisations face.”

This article originally appeared at

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