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Malware ‘may be state-sponsored’

AFP-JIJI

Security researchers said on Monday that they have discovered cyberespionage malware responsible for hits on governments and companies in 31 countries is likely to be state-sponsored.

Kaspersky Lab researchers said the Spanish-language malware known as “The Mask” or “Careto” has been used since at least 2007 and is unusually complex, with versions that may infect mobile phones and tablets, including those running Apple or Google operating systems.

The main targets appear to be government and diplomatic offices, energy companies, research organizations, private equity firms and political activists, a white paper by Kaspersky said.

“Several reasons make us believe this could be a nation-state sponsored campaign,” Kaspersky researcher Costin Raiu said.

Raiu said that the authors showed a high degree of technical sophistication and have been able to hide their activities so far.

“This level of operational security is not normal for cybercriminal groups,” he said.