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Tech Industry Leaders Join Forces In ‘Operation SMN’ to Reduce Malware Attacks on the Internet Landscape

Symantec has teamed up with tech industry leaders Cisco, F-Secure, iSIGHT Partners, Microsoft, ThreatConnect, Tenable, ThreatTrack Security and Volexity in a combined effort against a cyberespionage ring called Hidden Lynx.  Dubbed “Operation SMN”, this coordinated effort is the first time the private sector has come together to help provide better protection for users. The information and data-based companies are sharing their intelligence so that their services will provide a broader scope of malware detection. This collaboration will help reduce the amount of malware on the Internet and will also be more effective against preventing future data breaches with high profile consumer and information-based companies.

What is Hidden Lynx?

Hidden Lynx is one of many cyberespionage groups that Symantec has helped to take down. Recently, Symantec has helped to thwart the groups behind the Gameover Zeus and Shylock Trojans. Hidden Lynx is a group that has operated out of China since 2011, and is believed to have between 50-100 agents at its disposal, also providing Hacking As A Service. Symantec has been observing the activities of Hidden Lynx for several years, and it appears that the group’s main objective is taking over people’s computers with Trojans.

What is a Trojan?

A Trojan is a type of malware that contains malicious code that is typically aimed at taking control of a user’s computer, stealing data and inserting more malware on to a victim’s computer.

Norton software protects against Trojans and other malware that can cause data breaches, but there are also other steps you can take to stay safe against the latest threats.

  • Update your software as soon as the updates are available from the software company. These groups tend to exploit security holes in outdated software programs. Depending on your operating system, Software Update on a Mac and Windows Update will regularly run all on their own, and prompt you to update when there is a new update available. However, this is not 100% dependable, and you should manually check for system updates periodically. In addition to operating system updates, you should also check for updates on other software that you use on your computer as well.

Be wary of emails containing links and attachments from unknown senders. A popular way to distribute Trojans is via phishing scams. You can learn how to identify and protect yourself against phishing scams via our article on phishing scams.