A new cyber surveillance virus found.

Kaspersky Lab’s reports a new cyber surveillance virus dubbed Gauss has been found in the Middle East that can spy on financial transactions, e-mail, social networking activity and may also be capable of attacking critical infrastructure.

The Moscow-based firm said it found Gauss had infected personal computers in Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian Territories. It declined to speculate on who was behind the virus but said it was related to Stuxnet and two other cyber espionage tools, Flame and Duqu.

“After looking at Stuxnet, Duqu and Flame, we can say with a high degree of certainty that Gauss comes from the same ‘factory’ or ‘factories,’ ” Kaspersky Lab said in a posting on its website. “All these attack toolkits represent the high end of nation-state-sponsored cyber-espionage and cyber war operations.”

According to Kaspersky Lab, Gauss can steal Internet browser passwords and other data, send information about system configurations, steal credentials for accessing banking systems in the Middle East, and hijack login information for social networking sites, e-mail and instant messaging accounts.

What bugs me, pardon the pun, is that such technology can be used against private citizens anywhere, including the country which created the virus.

Read the complete article on the Globe and Mail newspaper web site here.