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The program has infected and compromised at least 350 high-profile computer systems in 40 countries for data theft and surveillance, with the total likely closer to 1,000.
The NetTraveller targeted “victims across multiple establishments in both the public and private sector including government institutions, embassies, the oil and gas industry, research centres, military contractors and activists,” Kaspersky’s statement says.
The NetTraveller, which is a family of malicious programs has been active since as early as 2004, but the highest volume of activity occurred between 2010 and 2013.
The attack begins with spear-phishing emails with malicious attachments that use vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office to compromise systems.
The NetTraveller affected hardest the users of Mongolia and Russia, as well as India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Tajikistan, South Korea, Spain and Germany.
Kaspersky Lab’s experts estimate the amount of stolen data stored on NetTraveler’s command and control servers at more than 22 gigabytes.