Maduro dictatorship’s military and diplomatic secrets stolen by hackers targeting Venezuela, Cuba, and others

An unknown hacker group targeting Venezuela, Cuba, and other countries have stolen a treasure trove of military and diplomatic secrets from the socialist Maduro dictatorship.

Sabrina Martin reports in PanAm Post:

Hackers Steal Military and Diplomatic Intelligence from Maduro Regime

The computer virus “Machete” has been targeting the Venezuelan regime, and its key allies Cuba and Russia, although who is behind it remains a mystery.

A computer virus called “Machete”, which has been in operation since 2010, has been operating since 2012 in Venezuela with the main purpose of stealing valuable intelligence information from the Nicolás Maduro regime. The purpose of the virus is to hijack confidential information, such as military and diplomatic documents.

A report published by the Spanish media outlet ABC revealed that the cybersecurity company ESET, which has been hired to study the virus, has analyzed more than 50 computers, of which 75% of them belong to senior officials of the Venezuelan Army from whom the virus has stolen key military intelligence.

“The main objective of the hacker group, which is very active and effective, are to access these confidential documents in which information regarding the positioning and movement of troops is collected. However, they are also interested in data on education, police, security, and foreign affairs,” says the report.

Hackers that operate the virus are infiltrating electronic devices through an email containing authentic confidential documents based on information that they have previously stolen.

“Although we cannot fully ensure that the group behind Machete is of Latin American origin, there is no doubt that they have a great deal of knowledge of military jargon,” said Josep Albors, an ESET researcher.

A SecureList article, published in 2014, reveals that “Machete” is a campaign of targeted attacks with origins in the Spanish language. The program is capable of cyber espionage operations such as keypad activity capture, geographic location data capture, file copy sending, and other activities.

SecureList explains that the majority of the victims of the virus are in Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Russia, Cuba, and Spain. And it adds that in some cases, such as Russia’s, targets appear to be embassies of the countries mentioned. The virus has also been active, although to a minor degree, in the United States, England, Canada, Germany, and Ukraine, among other countries.

“Its objectives include intelligence services, armed forces, embassies, and government institutions,” the article stated.

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