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DeepPanda or Shell Crew: Who is Behind the Cyber Attacks on US Networks?

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Published on : Jun 22, 2015

With the cyber-attacks on the U.S. government’s Office of Personnel Management, security researchers are looking out for the hacking group they have named as PinkPanther, Group72, DeepPanda, or KungFu Kittens. The cyber-attacks have been linked to the Chinese government. However, Beijing has denied the charges. Jared Myers and his team working at a cyber-security firm called RSA have nicknamed the hacking group as Shell Crew. According to Myers, the group is highly talented and efficient with its hacking assaults into the networks of the U.S. and the other countries to steal various government, defence, and industrial documents. The recent attack on the U.S. government’s Office of Personnel Management resulted to the data of 4 million former and current federal employees getting leaked. This has raised the U.S. suspicions regarding China’s involvement in the cyber-attack to build a database of employees to hire them as spies. 

Myers suspects that Shell Crew and Deep Panda are the same hackers group. Another cyber security company CrowdStrike traces the activities of DeepPanda to 2011 when it launched cyber-attacks on the energy, chemical, and defence industries of Japan and the U.S. Myers pointed out that while fixing an unrelated problems for a U.S. based technology firm, they had stumbled upon the activities of the hackers, present inside the company’s network and stealing sensitive information. Apparently, Shell Crew had estimated the loopholes in the company’s network for quite some time through a software code. Later on, by sending emails to the company’s employees through a fake account, the hackers mined information from the company’s computers. It was detected five months later by RSA. Myers further mentioned that even after they closed the loopholes, the hackers are still attempting to gain access through malware assaults.