Symantec Corp, a digital security company, says it has identified a sustained cyber spying campaign, likely state-sponsored, against Indian and Pakistani entities involved in regional security issues.
In a threat intelligence report that was sent to clients in July, Symantec said the online espionage effort dated back to October 2016.
The campaign appeared to be the work of several groups, but tactics and techniques used suggest that the groups were operating with “similar goals or under the same sponsor”, probably a nation state, according to the threat report, which was reviewed by Reuters. It did not name a state.
The detailed report on the cyber spying comes at a time of heightened tensions in the region.
India’s military has raised operational readiness along its border with China following a face-off in Bhutan near their disputed frontier, while Indo-Pakistan tensions are also simmering over the disputed Kashmir region.
A spokesman for Symantec said the company does not comment publicly on the malware analysis, investigations and incident response services it provides clients.
Symantec did not identify the likely sponsor of the attack. But it said that governments and militaries with operations in South Asia and interests in regional security issues would likely be at risk from the malware. The malware utilizes the so-called “Ehdoor” backdoor to access files on computers.
“There was a similar campaign that targeted Qatar using programs called Spynote and Revokery,” said a security expert, who requested anonymity. “They were backdoors just like Ehdoor, which is a targeted effort for South Asia.”