Kaspersky Labs uncover ‘Gauss’, a state-sponsored cyber surveillance meets banking trojan
Kapsersky Labs have uncovered a new cyber threat called Gauss, which is targeting users in the Middle East. The anti-virus maker describes Gauss as a complex, nation-state sponsored cyber-espionage toolkit designed to steal sensitive data with a specific focus on browser passwords, online banking account credentials, cookies, and specific configurations of infected machines.
Gauss also houses an online banking trojan functionality, which is a first for cyber-weapons. The news of this cyber-weapon comes just months after the potent Flame virus was uncovered. It has been noted that virus could perhaps be using the same infrastructure and labs as Stuxnet and also Flame. Kaspersky Labs have found a number of commonalities between the viruses. In fact, the discovery was made possible because of the similarities.
Users can check here to see whether their systems have been infected by Gauss or not. The test, though not thorough, checks whether a font named Palida Narrow has been installed on the system or not. According to Kaspersky Labs, this previously unknown font is installed on all computers infected by Gauss.
Here are some facts related to Gauss:
- Analysis indicates that Gauss began operations in the September 2011 timeframe.
- It was first discovered in June 2012, resulting from the knowledge gained by the in-depth analysis and research conducted on the Flame malware.
- This discovery was made possible due to strong resemblances and correlations between Flame and Gauss.
- The Gauss C&C infrastructure was shutdown in July 2012 shortly after its discovery. Currently the malware is in a dormant state, waiting for its C&C servers to become active.
- Since late May 2012, more than 2,500 infections were recorded by Kaspersky Lab’s cloud-based security system, with the estimated total number of victims of Gauss probably being in the tens of thousands. This number is lower compared to the case of Stuxnet but it’s significantly higher than the number of attacks in Flame and Duqu.
- Gauss steals detailed information about infected PCs including browser history, cookies, passwords, and system configurations. It is also capable of stealing access credentials for various online banking systems and payment methods.
- Analysis of Gauss shows it was designed to steal data from several Lebanese banks including the Bank of Beirut, EBLF, BlomBank, ByblosBank, FransaBank and Credit Libanais. In addition, it targets users of Citibank and PayPal.
Image Credit: Kaspersky Labs