Reputed Iranian threat actor APT33 has been employing more than a dozen secret botnets to infiltrate and spy on the networks of various Middle Eastern, U.S. and Asian organizations, and are even setting up their own VPN networks to conceal their operations, according to researchers.

Trend Micro described these findings in a blog post this week, vaguely identifying some of the infected American entities as a private U.S. company that offers national security services, a victim likely involved with the U.S. military, and victims connecting from a university and a college.

APT33, aka Refined Kitten, is particularly known to target the oil and aviation industries, and is commonly associated with the Shamoon and StoneDrill disk wiper malware programs.

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