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Kaspersky Lab research says Agent.BTZ virus infected at least 400,000 computers in Russia and Europe in 2008

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March 13
6:04 AM 2014

A new research report released by Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab revealed that the mysterious virus known as Agent.BTZ infected no less than 400,000 computers in Russia and Europe after targeting the Central Command of the US military in an attack that was discovered in 2008, Reuters reported.

The virus was believed to be of Russian origin. Kaspersky Lab Director of Research Costin Raiu told Reuters in an interview that they got the number of the affected computers based on what was detected by their antivirus software. He also thinks that the operators behind the virus have already ceased communications with Agent.BTZ after 2011 when the infections were at its height. Raiu said that the worm largely infected computers in the Russian Federation, then Spain and Italy. It also found its way in Kazakhstan, Germany, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, the UK and Ukraine, the report said.

There has not been much information reported on Agent.BTZ because the Pentagon had considered the attack made on the US Central Command classified. In 2008, the agency was responsible for the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, officials of the US said the virus was the work of a foreign spy agency. Although they never pointed at a specific country as responsible, officials said it happened when an infected flash drive was used on a military laptop in a base located in the Middle East. Cyber security experts, meanwhile, have told Reuters that they believe Russian intelligence was responsible for Agent.BTZ, the report said.

According to Raiu, Kasperskly published its report on the said attack because it believes that this could be connected to the Turla operation that is now infecting government computers in Europe and the US. He added that there is reason to believe that that those who developed Agent.BTZ have also developed Turla, the spyware that is now closely being looked into for possible connections with conflict now going on in Ukraine, the report said.

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