Computer anti-virus firm Kaspersky Lab says it has discovered a cyber-espionage program targeting Latin American organizations, particularly governments and military sites in Venezuela, Ecuador and Colombia.
The campaign, code-named ‘Machete’, aimed to steal hijack sensitive information from major organizations. Cyber criminals have already managed to steal gigabytes of confidential data, the report added.
The attackers, who are also based in Latin America, according to analysts at Kaspersky, used social engineering techniques to distribute the malware.
“The attackers of the campaign appear to be Spanish speaking, and have roots somewhere in Latin America. Also, the targets were mostly Latin America countries. When targets outside of the region were found, there was sometimes a link to Latin America. For instance, in Russia the target appeared to be the embassy of one of the Latin America countries,” the report said.
In another report, the anti-virus software maker said Brazil, Peru and Mexico saw the highest number of cyber attacks in the first half of this year. There are many instances of stealing money and financial information, Kaspersky said.
Global sports events, such as Brazil’s Soccer World Cup, increased internet traffic, thus providing cyber criminals with an opportunity to infect computers. In some cases, they used spear-phishing messages combined with web-based infections spread through specially-prepared fake blogs.
Kaspersky says the cyber-espionage tool found on infected computers is capable of performing various functions and operations, such as copying files to a remote server or a special USB device if inserted, hijacking clipboard content, key logging, computer microphone audio capturing, taking screenshots, recording geolocation data, and taking photos with the web cameras on the infected computers.