Lawmaker requests McAfee briefing to discuss Shady RAT

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A California congresswoman has requested a meeting with McAfee's head researcher and his team following the security company's release last week of a 14-page report chronicling a persistent hacking campaign affecting some 50 U.S. organizations.

Republican Rep. Mary Bono Mack, who chairs the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, sent a letter Wednesday to Dmitri Alperovitch, VP of threat research at McAfee, with hopes of learning more about Operation Shady RAT, a five-year-long cyberespionage offensive which reportedly has plundered intellectual property from some 72 companies across 14 nations.

Organizations in the United States, Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam and Canada were among the targets, according to the report. Nearly 50 of the affected entities were corporations, government agencies – particularly defense contractors – and nonprofits based in the United States. The United Nations and Associated Press were also victims.

In the letter, Bono Mack, who recently introduced a federal data breach notification law, said she wants to know whether intellectual property and national security information are a bigger target among cybercriminals than personal data. She also inquired whether the public disclosure of breaches is beneficial to industry efforts to curtail cybercrime.

In addition, she wants Alperovitch and his team to provide more information about the distinction between the espionage attacks, and the relatively less sophisticated data heists, as the report referred to them, being perpetrated by the likes of Anonymous and LulzSec.

The lawmaker also is seeking statistics around the financial impact the Shady RAT campaign has had on the United States.

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