- Russian government-controlled malware infiltrated NATO-member governments and journalists' computers
- Snake malware, active since 2004, recorded every keystroke and transmitted data back to Russian intelligence unit, Turla
- FBI's Operation Medusa successfully disabled Snake, taking down a longstanding Russian cyber-espionage tool
Picture this: A Russian government-controlled malware network, infecting hundreds of computers belonging to NATO-member governments, journalists, and other targets of interest. Sounds like something out of a spy movie, right? Well, it's not. This was the reality until the FBI stepped in and disrupted this cyber-meddling with their aptly-named "Operation Medusa."
Going back to 2004, a unit within Russia's Federal Security Bureau (you know, the KGB's successor) developed and deployed this sneaky malware called Snake. Their squad, called Turla, was all about selectively targeting high-value devices used by foreign ministries and governments. With keylogging capabilities, Snake recorded every keystroke victims made and sent it back to Turla's control center. Talk about an invasion of privacy!
In one case, Turla even used Snake to infiltrate a personal computer belonging to a US journalist reporting on Russia's government. Yup, these cyber-spies were going after the press too. The Justice Department called Snake Russia's "premier long-term cyberespionage malware," and disrupting it was all part of the US law enforcement's efforts to protect victims worldwide.
But fear not, friends! After nearly two decades of Snake slithering undetected, US law enforcement finally took down the network. How? By reverse-engineering Snake and building software to disable it. This software, dubbed Perseus, was deployed in a synchronized operation earlier this week, with the help of other foreign governments.
So, while it's taken almost 20 years, US law enforcement has finally put a stop to one of Russia's most sophisticated cyber-espionage tools. Better late than never, right?
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