Cybersecurity: This prolific hacker-for-hire operation has targeted thousands of victims around the world

A hacker-for-hire operation offered by cyber mercenaries has targeted thousands of individuals and organisations around the world, in a prolific campaign of financially driven attacks that have been ongoing since 2015.

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Human rights activists, journalists, politicians, telecommunications engineers and medical doctors are among those who have been targeted by the group, which has been detailed by cybersecurity researchers at Trend Micro. They’ve dubbed it Void Balaur, after a multi-headed creature from Slavic folklore.

The cyber-mercenary group has been advertising its services on Russian-language forums since 2018. The key services offered are breaking into email and social media accounts, as well as stealing and selling sensitive personal and financial information. The attacks will also occasionally drop information-stealing malware onto devices used by victims.

See also: A winning strategy for cybersecurity (ZDNet special report).

It doesn’t appear to matter who the targets are — as long as those behind the attacks get paid by their contractors. Only a handful of campaigns are run at any one time, but those that are being run command the full attention of Void Balaur for the duration. 

“There will just be a dozen targets a day, usually less. But

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