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The Russian hacker group Pawn Storm is using a vulnerability in Adobe Flash Player to install malware on computers belonging to several “foreign ministries,” Trend Micro researchers reported Tuesday.
Pawn Storm “is the most significant cyber-espionage threat to the U.S. government and her NATO partners,” Trend Micro’s chief cybersecurity officer, Tom Kellermann, said in an email to The Daily Caller News Foundation. The exploit contains similarities to that which occurred on the White House just months ago, researchers found. That particular score allegedly resulted in a trove of Obama’s “unclassified” emails.
Adobe sent out a security advisory bulletin Wednesday warning of a “critical vulnerability” in a recent edition of Adobe Flash Player that affected Windows, Linux, and Macintosh platforms. If hackers successfully exploit the program, the bulletin warned they could cause a “crash and potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system.”
To breach a target’s security, the hackers would send spear phishing-emails that appeared to be legitimate, including links apparently leading to information about geopolitical events.