Malware campaign discovered targeting Latin America for 7 years


A seven-year long malware campaign has been discovered to be targeting several Latin American countries. Public figures, politicians and journalists in Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador and Venezuela have been victimised by the campaign since 2008.

Security researchers at Citizen Lab discovered the campaign, known as Packrat, which uses fake websites and social media accounts in order for fraudulent news companies and opposition groups to spread malware and administer spear-phishing attacks.

Prior to tracing former vicious attempts of the campaign to compromise devices of a journalist and attorney from Argentina, researchers found the attackers in Ecuador this year. Electronic spying that dates back to 2007 was uncovered as the researchers dug deeper.

Based on the nature and geographic regions of the targets and several other scenarios, Citizen Lab considers that Packrat is most likely sponsored by a state actor(s) due to the lack of concern about discovery, their targets and their tenacity.

The research team said, “The attackers have shown a keen and systematic interest in the political opposition and the independent press in so-called ALBA countries (Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas), and their recently allied regimes.”

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