A New and Highly Upgraded Spyware

Steven Petrov

The Paw Print

There are 10 countries that have been affected by it, including Russia

The American company Symantec, which specializes in the information security sector, has officially announced the existence of a new and much more modern version of spyware software. The company talked about it on Sunday in France, and emphasized the high level of technical characteristics that this virus has and warned that if not created by a certain governmental agency, it has been definitely monitored and controlled by one of the major secret intelligence agencies in the world. The newly developed spyware, called Regin, has many similarities with the more popular virus “Trojan horse,” but has also allowed an absolutely discrete surveillance of certain targets.

The company reported that the countries that have been currently affected by the virus are Russia, Saudi Arabia, Ireland, India, Afghanistan, Iran, Belgium, Austria, Mexico and Pakistan. However, due to the nature of the WEB, such a threat can be easily transferred to other countries without their knowledge.  Symantec urges for improvements in the online protection companies as well as governments have, and high level of alertness on the case. The purpose of this new kind of malicious software is not to sabotage and damage the systems for industrial control but rather to collect all kinds of various data while the system is working, seemingly without a problem.

A few years ago there was a similar threat that came out of the software world, and the program was called Stuxnet. In contrast with its newest spyware “brother,” Stuxnet was directly aimed at breaking and sabotaging the defense systems in the uranium enriching sectors in Iran. The complicated nature of the new program and its technical characteristics suggest that its development may have taken months if not years. Symantec also discussed the financial aspect of the development of such an online threat and that some governmental involvement could not be excluded as an origination possibility.

Symantec briefly explained that this particular spyware was first detected in 2011, and was found to had previously operated from 2008-2011. After been exposed and companies, governments etc. took the needed precautions against it the virus disappeared for 2 years, until 2013. The company also reports that the current version of Regin is an updated and much more “intelligent” as well as dangerous than the one from few years ago. Despite that it was recently detected, the virus is still active and Symantec warns any potential targets to be alarmed and extremely cautious.

The main targets of Regin are companies, governmental agencies as well as scientific institutes. The current version of the spyware can take pictures of your screen, take control of the mouse, steal passwords, spy the data traffic, and recover previously deleted files. Another characteristic of this virus is that even if it is found, it is extremely difficult to detect and see what exactly it was looking for on your computer system.

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