Computer security researchers have discovered a new state-sponsored virus, nicknamed Gauss, in the Middle East.
Researchers at Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab revealed that they had detected the latest virus on as many as 2,500 computers, most in Lebanon.
Believed to have been written by the same programmers who crafted data-mining computer virus Flame, which was found to be spying on Iranian computers in May, Gauss appeared to be designed to steal logins for e-mails, instant messaging accounts, social network accounts and accounts at certain banks.
According to the researchers, the list of banks targeted by the virus includes the Bank of Beirut, Blom Bank, Credit Libanais, Byblos Bank, Citibank and popular online payment service PayPal.
Costin Raiu, director of global research & analysis at Kaspersky, said that they had never seen any malware targeting such a specific range of banks.
Speaking on the topic, Raiu added, "Generally, cybercriminals target as many banks as possible to maximize financial profit, but this is a much focused cyberespionage campaign targeting certain users of online banking systems."
Raiu also revealed that they detected the Gauss virus while they were analyzing the Flame virus in June.
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