We had reported a few days back about the possibility of air-gapped systems also getting hacked and there was an incident that hackers have found a way to get inside air-gapped systems as well. For those who are not aware of the same, air-gapped systems are those systems that remain in complete isolation from other networks.
For example, these air-gapped systems don’t have any connection to the internet and they are also not connected to the other systems in a network physically. This means that the chances of hacking an air-gapped system remotely are next to zero but the first report of an air-gapped system getting hacked troubled everyone.
Now, a new report is available to us regarding air-gapped systems and it is something that will not be well received by governments all over the world. Because the report states that air-gapped systems in the Taiwanese and Philippine military have been hacked.
Or at least, there was an attempt to target those systems as per the officials. They have also mentioned that the hackers were working “in the interests of the Chinese government”. As we all know, relations between China and Taiwan are not great at all since China claims Taiwan to be a part of them while Taiwan claims to be independent.
This attack involved the use of USBferry which is a malware strain that contains a feature allowing it to self-replicate to removable USB devices, such as thumb drives and portable storage systems.
According to Trend Micro, “point of these attacks was to allow hackers to reach inside air-gapped (isolated, internet-disconnected) networks operated by the Taiwanese and the Philippine militaries, and other targets”.
As per the report, this malware “would infect a system with fewer security protections, then wait for a USB device to be connected, infect the device, and wait to be ferried to other parts of a victim’s internal network”.