Online security firm Kaspersky Lab has discovered a new advanced form of malware similar to the highly publicised Flame program, which has been named 'Gauss'.
"Similar to Flame and Duqu, Gauss is a complex cyber-espionage toolkit, with its design emphasizing stealth and secrecy; however, its purpose was different to Flame or Duqu." said Kaspersky Lab chief security expert Alexander Gostev in a statement released August 9.
"Gauss targets multiple users in select countries to steal large amounts of data, with a specific focus on banking and financial information."
Kaspersky Labs believes that the program first began operations nearly a year ago in September of 2011.
It was first discovered in June as part of an on going collaboration with the International Telecommunication Union aimed at identifying and eradicating cyber weaponry around the world.
While the risk posed to western organisations by Gauss is likely to be minimal, the news should still act as a welcome reminder of the importance of thorough vulnerability management and online security.
It has been estimated that the total number of victims affected by Gauss probably lies somewhere in the tens of thousands, with the majority of incidents occurring Lebanon.
Gauss is named after highly influential German mathematician Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss, who lived during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.