“They only needed one employee to open an infected file and launch the malware,” the report said. “The malware downloaded information from RSA that then helped the hackers learn how to defeat RSA’s security token.”
That attack led to the compromise of “a number of defense contractors’ networks” that were broken into as a result of the compromised RSA security token.
U.S. officials said at the time that China was thought to have been behind the RSA hack and the subsequent breach of the networks of the defense giant Lockheed Martin.
Another cyberthreat in the FBI report is called “click-jacking,” or concealing hyperlinks beneath legitimate clickable content that, when clicked, causes a user to unknowingly download a computer virus or send a user’s identification to a site.
Facebook “like” buttons and digital “share” buttons have been used for this purpose.
The FBI suggests using high-security settings on all social-networking sites to avoid being hacked.
To deal with the problem of unauthorized access to digital communications, especially risks linked to social-networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, a new, free software was released this month and is rapidly catching on within U.S. and allied intelligence agencies.
The software is called Scrambls. It automatically encrypts messages sent on social-networking sites using software added to Web browsers.
Once installed, all text between two @ signs is scrambled so that only the intended user can read it.
The software was developed by Wave Systems Corp. and is designed to help computer users regain control of messages posted to the Web and social-network sites.
One key feature is that using Scrambls allows users to take back messages that were sent, an option currently unavailable for most digital communications.
The company also hopes that the use of the technology will help protect children online by boosting the security of their conversations and communications.
At least one U.S. intelligence service is using the product, and another North American intelligence agency and one Asian service also are interested.
“Greater control enables greater use of social media,” said Michael Sprague, Scrambls co-creator.