Calls for Data Protection Commissioner to investigate spy bug

The Data Protection Commissioner is being called on to launch an inquiry amid reports of a spy bug targeting Irish computers.

The tech firm, Symantec, says Ireland is among several countries under surveillance by the software known as Regin, or Backdoor.

The bug, which is extremely hard to detect, was reportedly developed by an unknown "nation state" and has been spying on governments, businesses and private citizens around the world.

Other countries that have been targeted include Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Telecoms companies have also been infected, allowing hackers to gain access to phone calls.

It is highly sophisticated and may have taken months or even years to complete.

Computers can be infected with the software through means including fake internet sites and instant messenger programmes.

It is unusually low-key, meaning that it can be used on a target for several years before being noticed.

A report released by Symnatec claims Ireland has been the site of 9% of confirmed infections and Russia, Saudi Arabia and Mexico have also been heavily affected.

The report describes the purpose of Regin as “intelligence gathering” and says: “It is used for the collection of data and continuous monitoring of targeted organisations or individuals.”

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