Leading security agency Symantec has discovered a piece of malicious software called Regin, which is believed to be one of the most sophisticated ever seen. The agency believes that Regin has been in use for six years and was probably developed by a government in the West against a range of targets worldwide.
Once installed on a computer, the spyware can recover deleted files, capture screenshots and steal passwords. The sophistication of Regin has led experts to conclude that it was developed as a cyber-espionage tool by a nation state, taking years perhaps to be developed. Symantec does not believe it is being used for mass surveillance.
The firm has also drawn parallels between Regin and computer worm Stuxnet, which is thought to have been developed to target Iran’s nuclear program and damage equipment. Regin’s main purpose, however, seems simply to be the collection of information.