Nuclear Missile Contractor Hacked

Hackers have stolen confidential documents from a US military contractor which provides critical support for the country's Minuteman III nuclear deterrent. The National Security Agency (NSA) has warned of Russian military hackers actively exploiting a popular email program to infiltrate computer systems within the United States. 

Spies from countries around the world are fighting a silent, dirty war to get in position in civilian infrastructure, like electricity generating civilian nuclear plants, to be able to commit sabotage during a moment of geopolitical tension.

The Russian military hacking group, Sandworm Team, operates as part of the Russian military intelligence agency (GRU).Sandworm has been in operation for more than a decade and has carried out sophisticated cyber-attacks against governments, telecommunications, and energy sectors in Ukraine, Poland, the EU and NATO. 

Cyber criminals were able to gain unauthorised access to the computer network of New Mexico company Westech International.  Westech provides critical support for the United States' Minuteman III nuclear deterrent, the intercontinental ballistic missile LGM-30G Minuteman III is a three-stage missile with a range of over 6,000 miles. 

The attack is believed to have been carried out by the threat group MAZE, which has previously claimed to have attacked Minnesota egg supplier Sparboe Companies with ransomware.  

After gaining access to Westech International's computer network, the criminals encrypted the company's machines and began to leak documents online to pressure the company to pay extortion. It is unclear if the documents stolen by the criminals include military classified information, but files which have already been leaked online suggest the hackers had access to extremely sensitive data, including payroll and emails.

The files stolen from Westech in the cyber-attack have been leaked online. The files appear to contain sensitive data, including company emails, payroll, and what has been described in some reports as "personal information." 
Westech confirmed that the company had been hacked and that its computers had been encrypted. No information was shared regarding when the attack took place or how the criminals gained entry to Westech's computer system.

The access of US systems by Russian hackers is more significant, especially during the forthcoming US Presidential  elections where there have neen warning of the likely repeat of hackers allegedly influencing the outcome of the presidential election in 2016 is already emerging.   

Westech International:      Infosecurity Magazine:       Sky News:       CPO Magazine:      CSO Online

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