FireEye is considered one of the world’s top cyber-security firms. They are the ones that Sony hired after the infamous hack by North Korea. Now FireEye is the scene of the crime. The company announced that its own tightly guarded hacking tools, used to test security for clients around the world, has been stolen by hackers working for an unspecified nation-state. The company’s president published a blog post about it today:
Based on my 25 years in cyber security and responding to incidents, I’ve concluded we are witnessing an attack by a nation with top-tier offensive capabilities. This attack is different from the tens of thousands of incidents we have responded to throughout the years. The attackers tailored their world-class capabilities specifically to target and attack FireEye. They are highly trained in operational security and executed with discipline and focus. They operated clandestinely, using methods that counter security tools and forensic examination. They used a novel combination of techniques not witnessed by us or our partners in the past…
We are not sure if the attacker intends to use our Red Team tools or to publicly disclose them. Nevertheless, out of an abundance of caution, we have developed more than 300 countermeasures for our customers, and the community at large, to use in order to minimize the potential impact of the theft of these tools.
The tools could potentially be used to hack other companies or nations and provide some plausible deniability, but since FireEye is releasing data on all of the tools that were stolen the usefulness of the tools is somewhat limited. So what was the point of this detailed and probably expensive operation?