A new virus called Regin has been described as the world’s most dangerous bug ever with experts saying it is probably the work of a government agency.
The malware, discovered by internet security company Symantec, is capable of stealing data and passwords, taking screenshots and can even control the cursor.
Regin was also able to gain access to phone calls after attacking a telecom company’s infrastructure.
Symantec says Regin has been around a long time and can go years without being noticed inside a computer system.
It is suited for long-term surveillance of governments, research institutes, individuals and other countries.
But Symantec suspects this backdoor type Trojan is so complex and advanced it indicates it creator has a rarely seen high degree of technical expertise which may include technologically advanced nation state.
On its website, Symantec says the development of Regin probably took months if not years to complete with the authors careful to cover their tracks to make the virus virtually undetectable.
Almost half of all infection have been directed at individuals and small businesses running Windows PCs.
Computers are infected with Regin when they visit fake internet sites and instant messenger programs.
The main countries that have been affected include Ireland, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Mexico.