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Haunting the hunter

Apart from Vladimir Putin, the other popular man in Russia is Eugene Kaspersky and his antivirus software. Kaspersky Labs has in the recent past revealed works of hackers including those infamous fellows who gained access to the international bank transfer system and caused auto teller machines in Europe to vomit money. Hackers are now haunting the hunter Kaspersky with cyber-attacks.

BBC reported last week that Kaspersky’s computer system was intruded by hackers. The hackers wanted to get details of the company’s newest security techniques. The intruders managed to get access files from the system.

Kaspersky suspects that the malware originated from Israel. It is a very complicated piece of code that gained entry into Kaspersky’s system by enticing one of its workers into a link on a website. The malware then entered the network and hid in memory of computers and stole files.

Because the hackers were aware that this was the same as hitting a military base, they avoided using usual tactics where malware files attach themselves to existing files on a computer system.

Kaspersky has traced the malware back to the unknown creators of Duqu Trojan which caused havoc in Iran, India, France and Ukraine in 2011. This Trojan was used to spy on Iranian nuclear facilities. During that time, the hackers exploited vulnerability in Microsoft Word to achieve their wicked motives. This time around, another Microsoft weakness was used; this is found in an installer files for Microsoft programs.

According to Kaspersky, the attack was discovered some months ago and has only accessed files that are deemed not crucial to the activities of the computer security company. The company says that it has decided to fight the cyber-criminals publically to expose them. That can be a two-edge knife. The thing is that this could actually be the opposite. It is like criminals that walk into a police station and steal guns while policemen are busy sleeping.

People look to security companies like Kaspersky and Symantec to provide them with shields that safeguard them against malware attacks. Now if the hackers can gain access to systems of these companies, what does that say about who is winning?

In no way am I becoming an advocate for hackers; the truth is that hackers are not bozos; they are sophisticated code writers. Like efficient snipers, they can be hired by governments to do some unpleasant jobs. Security companies sometimes sent a thief to catch another; employ hackers to sort of intriguing problems.

This is not the first time that Eugene Kaspersky has been targeted, back in 2012, his son Ivan was kidnapped while driving to work in Moscow. A ransom of three million dollars was demanded.

Meanwhile Kaspersky Labs has assured its customers that they are safe and this attack should not cause them sleepless night. But researchers from other security companies have indicated that the intrusion was not like somebody throwing a prank; it was big deal.

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