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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Monday, October 23, 2017

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Cyber security firm says it has discovered most sophisticated virus ever

Computers in Russia, Saudi Arabia and Ireland have been hit most

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MOUNTAIN VIEW, California - A leading computer security company, Symantec, says it has discovered one of the most sophisticated computer viruses ever seen.

The firms says the malware, which it has named Regin, was most likely created by a government with the expertise and resources for its sophistication.

Symantec says the virus appears to have been used for six years against a range of targets around the world.

Once installed on a computer, the malicious software can capture screenshots, steal passwords or recover deleted files, among other abilities.

Computers in Russia, Saudi Arabia and Ireland have been hit most, according to Symantec. The cyber security specialists say the virus is most likely used to spy on government organisations, businesses and private individuals.

Researchers say the sophistication of the software suggests that it is a cyber-espionage tool developed by a nation state.

Researchers at Symantec say it likely took months, if not years, to develop the virus and its creators have gone to great lengths to cover its tracks.

Symantec declined to point the finger at any particular country, but said the malware had the appearance of having been developed in the west. "It looks like it comes from a Western organisation. It's the level of skill and expertise, the length of time over which it was developed," said Sian John, a security strategist at Symantec.

Symantec has drawn parallels with Stuxnet, a computer worm thought to have been developed by the US and Israel to target Iran's nuclear program. However, whereas that virus was designed to damage equipment, Regin's purpose appears to be to collect information.

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