Sophisticated spy malware found on Russian government computers

FSB - IAAccording to the predominant media narrative, the United States is constantly defending itself against cyber-attacks from countries like China and Russia. But, as intelNews has argued for years, this narrative is misleading. Recent intelligence disclosures clearly show that the US cyber-security posture is as offensive as that of its major adversaries. Additionally, China and Russia have to defend their computer networks as much as America does. Last weekend’s report from Moscow helps restore some of the balance that is missing from media reporting on cyber-security. According to the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), a meticulously coded and sophisticated virus has been found on the computer networks of at least 20 major Russian agencies and organizations. The targets appear to have been carefully selected by the malware’s authors. They include government bodies, weapons laboratories and defense contractors located throughout Russia.

The FSB said that once installed, the virus gave its handler control of the infected computer system. It permitted an outside hacker to turn on a computer’s microphone or camera, and capture screenshots. It also stealthily installed keylogging software, thus allowing an outside party to monitor keyboard strokes on an infected system. Based on its functions, the malicious software seems to be designed to conduct deep surveillance on infected computers and their physical surroundings. The FSB would not attribute the malware to a specific hacking group or nation. But it said it believed that the malware attack was “coordinated”, “planned and planned professionally”. It also said that the coding of the virus “required considerable expertise”. In a brief statement released Saturday, the FSB said that aspects of the coding of the virus, as well as other identifying information, resembled those detected in preceding hacking attacks on computer servers in Russia and other countries. The statement did not elaborate, however.

The news about hacked Russian computers comes less than two weeks after it was claimed that Russian government-backed hackers stole electronic data belonging to the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in the United States. The Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, publicly accused the Russian government of orchestrating the hacking of the DNC computer systems in an attempt to damage her campaign.

Author: Ian Allen | Date: 01 August 2016 | Permalink

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One Response to Sophisticated spy malware found on Russian government computers

  1. Charles Trew says:

    All major countries (and quite a few smaller ones as well) have offensive cyber programs. A good recent book on U.S. operations is Fred Kaplan’s “Dark Territory.” The big deal with the recent Russian action, as opposed to this story out of Moscow, is that Russian made a direct, major attempt to influence a U.S. presidential election. The media is also not mentioning the longstanding use of Wikileaks by the Russian FSB as their agent for various operations. Wikileaks promised back in 2010 to release secret Russian emails that were to be as damaging as the U.S. releases. We never got the emails. After first being threatened by Russia, Wikileaks was co-opted and Assange even began working for Russia on RT, their international propaganda channel. Assange and his people (Sarah Harrison in particular) later made a huge effort to get Snowden to Moscow. Now Wikileaks is publishing Russian intercepted emails to influence the U.S. Presidential election and even Snowden is distancing himself from the group. Questioned about this relationship the other day Assange said the issue is only a “distraction”. I would argue this news story out of Moscow is also a “distraction.” The international media needs to to start asking Wikileaks and Russia hard questions about their relations with each other.

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