A sophisticated type of spyware (automatic computer program) comes stealthily infecting hundreds of computers in governments throughout Europe and the United States , one of the most complex programs of cyber espionage discovered to date.
Several security researchers and staff from the area of Western intelligence say they believe the malware known as “Turla”, is the work of the Russian government and is connected to the same software used to promote a massive data breach in the U.S. Army, discovered in 2008 .
The spy program is also being linked to a huge operation previously known global cyber espionage, dubbed Red October, and which targeted networks diplomatic and military nuclear research.
These findings are based on analysis of the tactics employed by hackers, as well as technical indicators and victims who were his target.
“It is a sophisticated malware, which is connected to other feats of Russian, uses encryption and has targeted Western governments. Has Russian footprints everywhere,” said Jim Lewis, a former employee of the U.S. foreign service, now senior member Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
However, security experts warn that although the probability of that is Russian Turla feels strong, it is impossible to confirm these suspicions, unless Moscow take responsibility. This is because the developers of these programs generally use techniques to mask their identity.
The threat came to light this week after a little-known German company antivirus, G Data, published a report on the virus, he called Uroburos, the name that can be a coded reference to the Greek symbol of the snake eating itself ass.
Experts in cyber attacks sponsored by United say hackers banked by the government of Russia are known to be highly disciplined, skilled at hiding their tracks, extremely effective in maintaining control and infected more selective in choosing targets than their counterparts networks Chinese.
“They know that most people either do not have the technical knowledge or the courage to win a battle with them. When they realize that someone is on their trail, they are inactive,” said an expert who helps victims of piracy sponsored by United .
A former employee of Western intelligence services said: “They may use some programmers and engineers very high grade, including many working for organized crime groups, but also act as privateers”.
The Federal Office for Security in Russia declined to comment, as well as Pentagon officials of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
BAE Systems Applied Intelligence, Britain, published the findings of its investigation into the spyware, which he called “Cobra”.
The sheer sophistication of the software, the company said, was far beyond what was previously found – although it has not assigned blame for the attack.
“The threat … really complicates things in terms of what potential targets, and the security community in general have to do to stay ahead of cyber attacks,” said Martin Sutherland, managing director of BAE Systems.