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August 20, 2014

This Spanish espionage campaign attacking South America

Hackers can take screenshots, listen through the microphone, and steal your files.

By Jimmy Nicholls

A cyber espionage campaign targeting Spanish speakers has been discovered in South America, according to security firm Kaspersky.

Machete allows hackers to snoop on governments, militaries, embassies and spies through collecting screenshots, key logs, audio, photos, files and location data, and also affects Europe and North America.

Kaspersky’s global research and analysis team said: "The malware is distributed via social engineering techniques, which includes spear-phishing emails and infections via web by a fake blog website.

"We have found no evidence of exploits targeting zero-day vulnerabilities. Both the attackers and the victims appear to be Spanish-speaking."

Fake PowerPoint presentations that install malware when opened are also being used as part of the campaign, with the Python programming language also being used for the convenience of the hackers.

Though the code is intended mostly for Windows, the firm said there was evidence that infrastructure had been prepared for Mac, Unix and Android.

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"The Machete discovery shows there are many regional players in the world of targeted attacks," Kaspersky said.

"Unfortunately, such attacks have become a part of the cyber arsenal of many nations located over the world."

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