Russia Plays the Cybervictim Card

Russia Plays the Cybervictim Card

Russia's Federal Security Service, or FSB, recently reported that it found a cyber-spying virus in the computer networks of more than 20 state authorities and defense contractors. The claim that malware has infected various government and defense companies, published last month by Russia's official TASS news agency, came in the midst of a flurry of accusations that Russia has engaged in cyber-attacks against U.S. targets in an effort to impact the presidential election. The Federal Security Service revealed virus software for cyber-spying in computer networks of about 20 organizations in Russia. The attack was aimed at information resources of the state authorities, scientific and defense companies, the defense industry, and other infrastructure operations, the organization said.

The malware was targeted -- a virus that was professionally planned, created and spread, TASS reported. Based on an analysis of the style of programming, file names, parameters of use and other factors, the virus was similar to the software used in a previous high-profile cyber-spying incident discovered within the Russian Federation and around the globe, TASS reported.New sets of the malware are made individually for every target, taking into account the unique features of attacked machines, according to the TASS report. The virus is spread through electronic messages that contain a malicious attachment.After the software gets inside a computer system, the virus launches modules that allow it to intercept network traffic, listen to the traffic and create screen shots. It can turn on Web cameras and microphones inside a computer, copy audio and video files, and record keystrokes. The FSB is working with various ministries and authorities to finalize efforts to reveal all of the targets in the Russian Federation and to minimize the impact of the attack, according to the report.

Malware has infected various government and defense companies at a time when the U.S. and Russia are embroiled in a high-profile cyber-debate. Russian hackers linked to the country's intelligence services in recent months have been implicated in cyber-attacks on the computer systems of the Democratic National Committee, the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, and other political and government organizations.Russian officials vehemently denied any link to the attacks, and the FBI has not attributed them to any specific organizations.


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