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CrySyS Lab

Researchers have unearthed a decade-long espionage operation that used the popular TeamViewer remote-access program and proprietary malware to target high-level political and industrial figures in Eastern Europe.

TeamSpy, as the shadow group has been dubbed, collected encryption keys and documents marked as "secret" from a variety of high-level targets, according to a report published Wednesday by Hungary-based CrySyS Lab. Targets included a Russia-based Embassy for an undisclosed country belonging to both NATO and the European Union, an industrial manufacturer also located in Russia, multiple research and educational organizations in France and Belgium, and an electronics company located in Iran. CrySyS learned of the attacks after Hungary's National Security Authority disclosed intelligence that TeamSpy had hit an unnamed "Hungarian high-profile governmental victim."

Malware used in the attacks indicates that those responsible may have operated for years and may have also targeted figures in a variety of countries throughout the world. Adding intrigue to the discovery, techniques used in the attacks bear a striking resemblance to an online banking fraud ring known as Sheldon, and a separate analysis from researchers at Kaspersky Lab found similarities to the Red October espionage campaign that the Russia-based security firm discovered earlier this year.

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Above: Claudio Guarnieri of IT security firm Rapid7

Italy's Hacking Team is like most any software company: worried about market demand, creating desirable features, and not being too buggy. But their product, called "DaVinci," is something no one ever wants to find on their computer.

"They sell software that helps people break into people's computers and spy on them," explains Morgan Marquis-Boire, a researcher with University of Toronto's Citizen Lab.

Hacking Team develops targeted malware for use by nation-states.

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