Hackers broke into the systems of more than a dozen global telecommunications companies and took large amounts of personal and corporate data, researchers from a cybersecurity company said on Tuesday. The attack has been dubbed “Operation Softcell” by Cybereason, the security research firm that discovered it.
The objective of the attacks are “call details records”, which contain detailed metadata for each call made from a person’s phone, including the hours, dates and location of the cell-based device. The hackers seem to be targeting high-profile government and military targets, whose movements and communications will be significantly compromised by hacking. The attacks were first discovered a year ago, but go back seven years. The researchers say the attacks are ongoing and that the hacker’s servers are still operational.
The researchers discovered that hackers entered a cellular network by exploiting a security vulnerability in a Web server connected to the Internet to access the internal network of the provider. From there, the hackers continued to exploit every machine they found stealing credentials to gain deeper access. At least 10 unnamed cell networks in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East have been hit by the hack