A senior aide to German chancellor Angela Merkel has been the victim of a cyber attack, the country’s national broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) reports.
According to DW, Germany’s Bild newspaper wrote today that the head of the Department of European Policy was targeted. The staff member took a draft of a speech home on a USB stick to finish on her private laptop, and when she returned to the office, virus scanning software uncovered spy malware known as Regin. No other high security laptops were said to be infected at the Federal Chancellery.
The “highly-sophisticated” technology is thought to be the product of US or UK agencies. DW cites a November report by cyber-security company Symantec, which details some of the techniques and tools employed by Regin. Symantec says in some cases Regin is able to monitor data, take screenshots, control the mouse cursor, and steal passwords.
The spyware is thought to be used against governments and other organisations. DW adds that US news website The Intercept claims Regin has in the past been deployed to steal information from governments, companies and research institutions. It suggests the British spy agency GCHQ and the United States spy agency NSA were involved in the development of the software, which is particularly difficult to detect.
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