Government trojan found on German computers

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Oct 11, 2011

Four states admit the use of spyware.

Controversy has arisen in Germany, after the well-known CCC hacker group reported that it had found a trojan that was used to spy on behalf of law enforcement agencies.

The malware, which has since been given the names 'R2D2', '0zapftis', and more informally, 'Bundestrojaner' ('Federal trojan'), shares many properties with ordinary malware: it logs keystrokes, monitors online activity, takes screenshots and can be updated remotely. However, the CCC believed that German law enforcement agencies were behind the trojan - which they say goes far beyond what would be allowed under German law.

Initially, federal law enforcement agencies denied involvement in the malware, but agencies in four states (Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Brandenburg and Lower Saxony) have since admitted the use of what they claim is legitimate software. Joachim Herrmann, the Bavarian interior minister, has promised to investigate the case and there have also been calls for a federal investigation.

The use of 'malware' for good purposes has long been a controversial topic within the anti-malware industry and several people have in the past suggested the use of 'good viruses' for various purposes. The general belief within the industry is that this is a bad idea, that anti-malware software is there to protect customers, and that malware should be detected regardless of its purpose.

Ethical issues aside, there is also the possibility of cybercriminals using the malware for true criminal purposes; should a vendor decide not to detect it, this could seriously jeopardize customers' online security.

More at F-Secure here and at ESET here with some useful FAQs at Sophos's Naked Security blog here. Deutsche Welle, the German World Service, is following latest developments here.

Posted on 11 October 2011 by Virus Bulletin

twitter.png
fb.png
linkedin.png
hackernews.png
reddit.png

 

Latest posts:

VB2019 paper: APT cases exploiting vulnerabilities in region-specific software

At VB2019, JPCERT/CC's Shusei Tomonaga and Tomoaki Tani presented a paper on attacks that exploit vulnerabilities in software used only in Japan, using malware that is unique to Japan. Today we publish both their paper and the recording of their…

New paper: Detection of vulnerabilities in web applications by validating parameter integrity and data flow graphs

In a follow-up to a paper presented at VB2019, Prismo Systems researchers Abhishek Singh and Ramesh Mani detail algorithms that can be used to detect SQL injection in stored procedures, persistent cross-site scripting (XSS), and server‑side request…

VB2020 programme announced

VB is pleased to reveal the details of an interesting and diverse programme for VB2020, the 30th Virus Bulletin International Conference.

VB2019 paper: Cyber espionage in the Middle East: unravelling OSX.WindTail

At VB2019 in London, Jamf's Patrick Wardle analysed the WindTail macOS malware used by the WindShift APT group, active in the Middle East. Today we publish both Patrick's paper and the recording of his presentation.

VB2019 paper: 2,000 reactions to a malware attack – accidental study

At VB2019 cybercrime journalist and researcher Adam Haertlé presented an analysis of almost 2000 unsolicited responses sent by victims of a malicious email campaign. Today we publish both his paper and the recording of his presentation.

We have placed cookies on your device in order to improve the functionality of this site, as outlined in our cookies policy. However, you may delete and block all cookies from this site and your use of the site will be unaffected. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to Virus Bulletin's use of data as outlined in our privacy policy.