The world’s most advanced hacking spyware has been detected targeting Saudi Arabian and Russian telecoms companies.
The spyware, called “Regin”, was detected by internet security firm Symantec. The company said the malware was more advanced than the Stuxnet Worm, a hacking tool developed by the US and Israel in 2010 which aimed to ruin Iran’s nuclear programme by speeding up nuclear centrifuges until they tore themselves apart.
Symantec said that the Regin malware was most likely developed by a western intelligence agency.
Symantec director of security response Orla Cox, described the spyware as “extraordinary”, and said: “Nothing else comes close to this . . . nothing else we look at compares,” the Financial Times reports.
It was probably “months or years in the making”, she added.
Symantec said that they did not yet know how the technology infected computer networks, but said that so far the malware has been used against internet service providers and telecoms companies in Saudi Arabia, Russia, Ireland, Mexico and Iran.
It has infiltrated Microsoft email exchange servers, and hacked phone conversations between major international mobile phone networks.
Cox said: “Sometimes there is virtually nothing left behind – no clues. Sometimes an infection can disappear completely almost as soon as you start looking at it, it’s gone. That shows you what you are dealing with.”
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