Apple devices were specifically targeted last year to hack into target networks and uncover data to further cyber threat actors’ espionage goals, according to Trend Micro’s Targeted Attack Trends 2014 Annual Report.
For example, two iOS apps were used in Operation Pawn Storm – a series of military focused attacks monitored by Trend Micro. These apps were able to steal victims’ text messages, contact lists, pictures, geographical location data, audio files, and lists of installed apps.
The report also found that cybercriminals increasingly adopted techniques commonly associated with targeted attacks, because these proved effective in boosting financial gain.
The actors behind Predator Pain and Limitless, for instance, went after SMBs instead of individuals, allowing them to earn as much as US$75 million (£50m) in just six months.
Most favoured attack targets in 2014 were the government agencies. However, a spike in the number of attacks targeting hardware/software companies, consumer electronics manufacturers and healthcare providers was seen in the second half of the year.
The United States, Russia and China were knocked off the top spot as the favoured choice for targeted attacks. They were replaced by Algeria, Australia and Brazil as the top three countries to communicate with targeted attack C&C servers; followed by Canada, China, France, Germany, Ghana, India and Indonesia.
Australia, Brazil and China had the dubious honour of being the top countries where targeted attack C&C servers were hosted. They were followed by Egypt, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia Ireland, Netherlands and Russia.
The detailed report on the targeted attack campaigns can be found on this link.