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Indian hackers spied on Pakistan, claims US cybersecurity company

A group of hackers linked with the Indian army, who adopted a pair of mobile surveillance tools to spy on geopolitical targets in Pakistan and Kashmir, has been exposed by the US cybersecurity company.

According to a San Francisco-based cybersecurity company, the hacker group used to trick victims into installing knock-off web applications disguised as security tools and applications.

They later penetrated the victims’ devices and extracted the data including recorded phone calls, call logs, contacts, geolocation, images, and voice notes. The US company named ‘Lookout’ is known for commandeering legitimate web services in South Asia and embedding surveillance tools or malware inside these apps and services to conduct espionage.

Mobile devices of as many as 156 high-profile Pakistani officials were targeted and the data was stored on unsecured servers. Lookout researchers recently located the servers and found that most users who have been accessing the data are based in Northern India.

Read more: FIA busts five-member gang of ATM hackers in Rawalpindi

Lookout’s Staff Security Intelligence Engineer, Apurva Kumar, has said that Confucius’s technical tools and malware are not that advanced but the threat actor invests human time to gain trust from their targets. And in certain sensitive fields where people are more cautious, it is what makes the difference.

Since 2017, and as recently as December 2020, the hackers have relied on spyware to target Pakistani military officials, the country’s top nuclear regulator, and Indian election officials in the disputed state of Kashmir.