Advanced 'Mask' Cyber-Attack Persisted for Seven Years: Kaspersky
A stealthy cyber-attack known as Careto, or "The Mask," compromised a multitude of companies globally over the past seven years, according to Kaspersky Lab.A sophisticated cyber-espionage network compromised more than 380 companies, government agencies and organizations in more than 30 countries over the past seven years, according to a research report released by security firm Kaspersky Lab on Feb. 10. The network is the result of two malware programs: one called Careto—Spanish slang for "the mask"—and the other named SGH that Kaspersky described as APTs (advanced persistent threats.) The pair of programs compromised systems at government institutions, embassies, energy companies and private companies, Kaspersky stated in its analysis. The use of Spanish slang in the programs and the targets—one-third of infected systems were in Morocco—suggested that the attack may not have originated with the usual suspects, Dmitry Bestuzhev, head of Kaspersky Lab's Latin America research center told eWEEK in an e-mail interview. "The world used to think that Russia, U.S.A. or China are probably most sophisticated nations in terms of the cyber-attacks; however, now we see that it is a Spanish-speaking country," he said.
Kaspersky designated the attack as the most sophisticated that the company's researchers had seen to date. The company first became aware of the espionage network when the attackers attempted to exploit an old vulnerability in the security firm's product. If it had been successful, the program could have used the exploit to silently infect systems protected by Kaspersky's security software.