Russian Hackers Known as “Turla” Try to Access Maltese Government Servers – MITA Manages To Stop Them

A big well done to all those involved in managing to stop the attempted hack on the Maltese Goverment Infrastructure.

Russian IT hackers, from a group known as Turla are the likely culprits for an attack on the Maltese Government’s information technology systems repeatedly for the past few weeks. This is being reported on Malta’s online portal the timesofmalta.com

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Malta Information Technology Agency (MITA), the agency responsible for the Governments detected a cyber-attack on one of the government’s web hosting facilities earlier this month. It seems the hackers were unable to gain access to the government’s systems, if they had been successful the hackers could have brought the government’s system to a complete halt with catastrophic results for the services provided by the government on many levels.

The sources who spoke to timesofmalta.com stated that Microsoft’s Specialised Security Services have been brought in to help review the attempt attack and provide advise on how to prevent such attacks in the future.

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Experts in attacks say that these Russian hackers are known for being highly disciplined, adept at hiding their tracks, extremely effective at maintaining control of infected networks and more selective in choosing targets than their Chinese counterparts.

The Turla hacker collective is a group of criminal operators that has been active since at least 2007. Many security experts believe that its members originate from Russia and that they are responsible for several high-profile attacks.

Examples include an intrusion attempt against the RUAH Swiss defense company and the United States Central Command. The hackers are also known under the aliases of Waterbug, Venomous Bear and KRYPTON. Their primary tools include Turla (Snake and Uroburos), Epic Turla (Wipbot and Tavdig) and Gloog Turla.

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The Turla group is infamous for past operations that seem to be pulled out of Hollywood movie scripts. The group has been known to hijack and use telecommunications satellites to deliver malware to remote areas of the globe, has developed malware that hid its control mechanism inside Britney Spears’ Instagram, and has hijacked the infrastructure of entire ISPs to redirect users to malware.

The hacking group is known for its cutting-edge espionage malware. In mid-2014, researchers from Symantec documented malware dubbed Wipbot that infiltrated the Windows-based systems of embassies and governments of multiple European countries, many of them former Eastern Bloc nations. A few months later, researchers at Kaspersky Lab discovered an extremely stealthy Linux backdoor that was used in the same campaign, a finding that showed it was much broader than previously believed. Turla has also been known to use satellite-based Internet connections to cover its tracks. In March, researchers observed Turla using what was then a zero-day vulnerability in Window to infiltrate European government and military computers.