Hundreds of government-related computers in Central Asia and Russia have been the targets of malware attacks since August 2010. The sophisticated virus planted on some of those computers appears designed to mine sensitive diplomatic information and financial data.
The malware has been dubbed the “Lurid Downloader” by hacking experts. Nobody yet knows who the hackers behind the attacks are, who they are working for, or exactly what information they are after. But researchers at TrendMicro, a web security firm, say the culprits appear to be seeking specific documents and spreadsheets from diplomatic missions, research agencies and some businesses.
According to a whitepaper written by Nart Villeneuve and David Sancho; “These attacks are not automated or indiscriminate, nor are they conducted by opportunistic amateurs. Known as targeted malware attacks, these attacks refer to computer intrusions staged by threat actors that aggressively pursue and compromise specific targets.”
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Deirdre Tynan is a Bishkek based journalist specializing in Central Asian affairs.