According to Kaspersky Labs, a new cyber surveillance virus dubbed Gauss, has been found in the Middle East. The Gauss virus can spy on financial institutions' transactions, email and social networking activity as well as attack various infrastructures.
Kaspersky Labs says that Gauss has already infected computers in Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian Territories. No mention was made as to who was actually behind the creation of the virus, but Kaspersky did say that it was related to the Stuxnet virus and other cyber espionage tools similar to Flame and Duqu.
Kaspersky Lab posted earlier on its website,"All these attack tool-kits represent the high end of nation-state-sponsored cyber-espionage and cyber war operations."
According to the investigation so far, Kaspersky says that Gauss can steal internet browser passwords and other sensitive data, steal banking credentials in the Middle East along with the hijacking the login information for social networking sites, email and instant messaging account.
Kaspersky Lab researchers noted that the modules in the Gausss virus have the internal names of several famous mathematicians and philosopher, including Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss, Kurt Godel and Joseph-Louis Lagrange. “Kaspersky Lab said it called the virus Gauss because that is the name of the most important module, which implements its data-stealing capabilities.”
A top researcher also found that Gauss contains a module known as "Godel" that may include a Stuxnet type weapon for attacking industrial control systems A senior researcher at Kaspersky, Rob Schouwenberg, says that the Godel code may pack a similar warhead designed to attack a targeted system,similar to he Stuxnet type weapon in 2010 which was designed to attack computers that controlled the centrifuges at a uranium enrichment facility in Natanz,Iran
Reuters had reported that Kaspersky has not been able to fully crack the Godel' code, and that it “suspects it is a cyber weapon designed to cause physical damage and that its developers went to a lot of trouble to hide its purpose, using an encryption scheme that could take months or even years to unravel.”
Meanwhile Kaspersky Lab has announced hat they are already searching for world class cryptographers to help it break the code.