Security researchers have recently exposed a sophisticated new “military grade” malware program which is specifically targeting governments, academics and telecoms and, according to new reports, is suspected as being the handiwork of U.S. and British intelligence agencies.
According to security analysts with the Russian security firm Kaspersky Lab, which has been tracking the malware known as “Regin” for two years, the technology has two main objectives: intelligence gathering and facilitating other types of attacks.
Perhaps most notable, security researchers point out, is that none of the targets are based in either the U.S. or U.K. According to the Guardian, 28 percent of victims are based in Russia and 24 percent are based in Saudi Arabia. Ireland, with 9 percent of detected infections, has the third highest number of targets.
Since initial signs of the malicious software emerged in 2008, there have only been 100 or so victims uncovered globally. These include telecom operators, government institutions, multi-national political bodies, financial institutions, research institutions, and individuals involved in advanced mathematical/cryptographical research.
Described as highly complex, the malware works by disguising itself as Microsoft software and then stealing data through such channels as “capturing screenshots, taking control of the mouse’s point-and-click functions, stealing passwords, monitoring the victim’s web activity and retrieving deleted files,” according to Guardian reporter Tom Fox-Brewster.
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