Regin Spyware Unsettling Irish Companies

Symantec security firm unearthed a spyware making rounds through Irish companies’ computer systems, secretly collecting and broadcasting private data to hackers. Regin is primarily not targeted on average consumers, but given the web is an interconnected puzzle, everyone is a potential target.

In recent times, hackers have perfected their art, surfing the web is now more like working with a gun pointed on your head, not knowing when or if the attacker will pull the trigger.Well, that is scaring but not as freaking out as discovering a malware in your system which could take screen shots, control your cursor and monitor your every keystroke.

Recently, Irish companies have seen the blunt of such a sophisticated malware, named Regin, designed to still information from Irish people and organizations. Regin, discovered by Symantec security firm has been around since 2008, secretly stealing information and remotely broadcasting it to hackers.

Symantec says the malware is specifically “used for the collection of data and continuous monitoring of targeted organizations or individuals,” adding that the bug is “usually low-key” implying, it could take ages to dected it. Actually, a majority of the Irish companies under siege are “not particularly high profile” and are not even aware their systems have been infected with Regin.

It is public knowledge that many spywares are designed by the governments and intelligence agencies. Likewise, there is wide speculation that Regin, “intelligence gathering” malware, is a brain child of a state-backed group, targeting foreign private companies, government entities and research institutes. Telecommunication companies too have not been spared in the latest swing on Ireland.

Symantec is yet to witness attacks in wild using Regin, but saysIrish companies are the top on the hackers list,leading the pack at 9% of all recorded infections. Other countries infected with bug include, Russia, Mexico and Saudi Arabia.

Typically, spywares are distributed over the internet through emails which lure the target into opening an attachment or links to claim a reward, or see some leaked celebrity private photo. At one time the FBI had to impersonate Seattle Times agency just to implant a spyware on a suspect computer.  Similarly, Regin malware is distributed through bogus internet sites and internet messaging programs

Meanwhile, Regin is not a reason to freak-out, as the malware is “highly-targeted” implying the attacker must have prior knowledge and enough reason to implant it on your system. However, everybody is a potential target. The web is interconnected puzzle and the hacker is only looking for a missing link which might be you. As a rule of thumbs, never download an attachment from unknown senders, if need be, open them in protected view which comes installed by default in many operating systems.  Lastly, all emails from your service providers should be treated with a pinch of salt.

Top/Featured Image: By SKopp / Wikipedia (

Lawrence Mwangi Lawrence is a technology and business reporter. He has freelanced for a number of tech sites and magazines. He is a web-enthusiast, with a special interest in Online security, Entrepreneurship and Innovation. When not writing about tech he can be found in a Tennis court or on a chess board.
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