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News

Stonesoft Puts Gauss In Overall Cyber Warfare Context

Stonesoft Networks : 14 August, 2012  (Technical Article)
Gauss malware seen to be the latest in a growing trend for using digital espionage in both business and politics
Stonesoft Puts Gauss In Overall Cyber Warfare Context
The Gauss malware discovered in the Middle East has been one of the hottest topics in the media recently. Mr Jarno Limnéll, Director, Cyber Security at Stonesoft is not at all surprised about the discovery.

“Gauss is just another example of the cyber espionage that is going on all the time. As the information is stored in computers and networks, digital espionage is a significant threat both in politics and business globally. Because of this, it is crucial that organisations protect themselves by using security systems that are dynamic and flexible enough to meet the ever evolving threats”, said Limnell.

The Russian security company Kaspersky Lab announced the discovery of the Gauss malware at the end of last week. The virus has been compared to Flame and Stuxnet, both nation-state sponsored espionage malware. Limnéll believes this is also the case with Gauss.

“I believe that the purpose of Gauss is to spy on bank transactions in the Middle East. More than two third of the infections have been discovered in Lebanon, the home base of the political and military Hezbollah organisation. In a state of war, Hezbollah would represent Iran, so it would attack against Israel. Information about bank transactions in Lebanon would naturally be beneficial in that situation, for example to evaluate the arms trades”, Limnéll said.

Mr Limnéll says that the likelihood of a severe cyber conflict is constantly growing, and Gauss just backs up this trend. “Stuxnet, Duqu, Flame and Gauss are just a peek into the future. More and increasingly sophisticated malware is constantly being developed around the world. It is quite interesting that Kaspersky has discovered all the most significant malware that has recently been featured in the media. It is also quite likely that all four have been developed at the same location. President Obama has already announced that Stuxnet was produced by the United States. This may be the case also with regard to Gauss. Kaspersky is a Russian company – could it be that their discoveries are part of the cyber war between United States and Russia, where US cyber weapons are being revealed?” Limnéll speculates.
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