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Fri Aug 10, 2012, 03:14 PM

Meet Gauss, the Latest Weapon in the Unfolding U.S.-Israeli Cyberwar [View all]

To the steadily growing list of digital weapons that appear to have been jointly created by the combined resources of the U.S. and Israel, we can now add another. The researchers at Russia-based Kasperky Labs who discovered it have christened it Gauss, and say it is aimed at pinching the pocketbooks of its intended targets, whoever they may be, by stealing account information of customers of certain banks in Lebanon, but also customers of Citibank and of PayPal.

Itís complicated, but not difficult, to surmise the nature, if not the names, of the targets of this latest state-sponsored malware campaign: Of the 2,500-odd infections that Kasperkyís researchers have counted so far, 1,660 ó more than two thirds of them ó have occurred in Lebanon. The software is designed to intercept data intended for use with accounts at the Bank of Beirut, Byblos Bank, Fransabank, all of which are either based, or which have significant operations in Lebanon.

Gauss, they say, bears a lot of the same markers as Stuxnet, Duqu, and Flame, which all predated it. It is the latest evidence that the U.S. is participating in a covert, undeclared campaign of computer warfare against parties unknown and of uncertain intent.

Anyone who reads the news of the world can guess at Gaussís purpose. The prospect of a shooting war with Iran involving the U.S. and Israel in some combination is never far from the minds of anyone in that region these days, as that country continues to develop its capacity to produce materials that might be used in nuclear weapons.



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