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Morpho is a hacking group that trades in intellectual property

Companies around the world are investing enormous amounts of time and money to combat the efforts of hackers. However, a new report suggests that the hackers themselves are just as committed to forward progress, albeit while pushing in the opposite direction.

A group called Morpho is apparently targeting the intellectual property of major companies, with a view to selling the purloined trade secrets on the black market. Using sophisticated techniques that can prey on computers running various operating systems, the organization has already attacked businesses in the fields of law, pharmaceuticals and tech, according to a report from the New York Times.

It’s thought that Morpho is the group that hit Microsoft, Apple, Twitter and Facebook in 2013, but the scope of their exploits is difficult to pin down. The group is as secretive as you might expect, and some companies who have been targeted — particularly those from the world of technology — might want to keep any breach quiet, both for public relations purposes and so as not to put themselves forward as an easy target.

Related: Two major security flaws in Adobe Flash and Windows found after Hacking Team leak

The information on Morpho comes from a broader report on hacking set to be released by Symantec tomorrow. It’s thought that at least 49 organizations spread across 20 different countries have already been attacked by the group.

While hacking was once thought to be a simple matter of stolen passwords perpetrated by individuals, it’s clear that times have changed. Groups like Morpho are approaching hacking as a business, and profits from past hacks allow them to take on bigger and bigger targets.

Now, the responsibility falls to those on the other side of the equation to find a way to combat such threats. Sadly, the problem of cybercrime only looks set to get worse in years to come.